Jocelyn’s still a-traveling seeing relatives this weekend, so here I am again.  The biscuits I promised a few posts ago arrive earlier than anticipated!

Making biscuits was always a fun treat when we were kids.  I was always amazed at how all you had to do was add milk to Bisquick, and real dough would appear — and it was fun to work with, too!  Of course, back then I thought of Bisquick as some kind of magical homogeneous substance that you used to bake, and flour and baking powder and sugar and shortening as rare arcane components tucked in the back of the pantry, only to be pulled out when required once or twice a year.  :-)  I’m glad to report, though, that making biscuits from scratch has done nothing to subtract from their joy:  If anything, it’s even more satisfying.  My favorite part, then and now, is the little suction-y poof sound the dough makes when you cut a biscuit round out of the sheet.  Simple pleasures, really.

These are really quick and easy to make; you don’t need a stand mixer, or even a hand mixer, just a fork, a mixing bowl, and a clean countertop.  They’re best fresh out of the oven, of course, but they’re still good once they’ve cooled.  (If it’s been too long, a few seconds in the microwave will perk them right back up.)

Biscuits

Yield:  6-7 biscuits; the seventh will probably be tiny, but what’s life without a tiny biscuit made from the leftover dough?  :-)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup dough mix, plus more for dusting/kneading
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup shortening

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a small-to-medium mixing bowl, first combine the dry ingredients (dough mix, xanthan gum, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and stir thoroughly.  Then, with a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the shortening until the mixture looks more or less homogeneous, or at least until there aren’t any lumps of shortening bigger than a marble.  Add the milk, and stir with a fork until it integrates into a soft, messy dough.  (You might have to add a touch more dough mix to the dough before it’s quite cohesive enough to turn out, you might not.)

2.  Dust a clean countertop with a little dough mix, and turn the dough out onto said countertop.  Now, here’s the trick:  You do want to knead more dough mix into this dough, but you want to use as little as possible.  You’re not trying to improve the dough till it isn’t sticky, just until it’s just not-sticky enough that you can get the biscuits off the counter and onto a cookie sheet after you cut them out.  Since you only want to roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick and no thinner, it’s not a tall order.

3.  Grab a cookie sheet and grease it lightly real quick, then re-dust the countertop and gently roll out the dough with your dusted hands.  It’s very, very soft, so you can just press it out flat.  Get it about 1/4-inch thick.  Take a cookie cutter or plastic cup with a rim the size you want your biscuits, dust it lightly in dough mix, and cut out the biscuit dough with it.  Move the biscuits to the greased pan, then re-re-dust the countertop and quickly knead the leftover dough back together and pat it flat again.  Lather, rinse, repeat till there isn’t enough dough left for a whole biscuit, at which point you can just put the rest of the dough on the pan as a tiny drop biscuit.

4.  Bake for about 15 minutes, give or take, until they’ve doubled in height and started to brown a little.  Then dig in!