Thursday, January 5, 2012

Biscuits Baby!

Over the holidays, I was invited to a baby shower for the daughter of Susan "Fake It Til You Bake It" fame. The daughter is a childhood friend of Rachel's and it's her first baby. A celebration was clearly in order.

Susan was a bit flustered when I called her to see what I could bring. It was the holidays after all. "Call Johanna," she said. "She's the one in charge."

So I dutifully called and while I had hoped to bring one of the 3,000 holiday baked goods/chocolates already made, desserts were not what she needed. Nope, what they needed to go with the four different (and I might now add, fabulous) homemade soups and country ham was biscuits.

I had actually never made biscuits before (yes, I know that's unusual but my family is really not a bread family in general so they haven't been on our radar much — a trait that is apparently a bit of an anomaly based on my frantic internet reading about biscuits after I got off the phone with Johanna) but I blithely said, "sure." And then headed online.

Where I learned that there are approximately one million ways to make biscuits and I immediately began to feel just a teensy anxious because, after all, I was making these for Susan (yes, other people would be at the party but anyone who is reading this and who knows Susan understands exactly what I mean when I say I was making them for her. Click here to get an inkling of what I mean.) And all of this was before I got an email from someone else attending the party who said that Susan didn't want to bother me herself but would this person please let me know that the biscuits must be bite-sized.

The stakes were clearly high.

Among the many decisions to be made were buttermilk vs. milk, the quantity of baking powder and butter vs. Crisco (or shortening, which really is one of the world's best euphemisms for something that is otherwise just plain disgusting to ponder — lard). I went with milk because I am tired of buying a quart of buttermilk and having the rest go bad (someone should make pints) and Crisco. The Crisco part was hard, I'm not gonna lie. I mean, what IS that stuff anyway? But I don't have a machine and I know firsthand how hard it is to make crusty things without one (read one of my many pie failure posts here) and so I thought I'd see how Crisco does with my new pastry cutter.

The answer is wonderful. Much much easier. And the biscuits, Susan proclaimed, were "wonderful." Crisis averted.

Basic Biscuits


2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Mix flour, powder and salt together; cut in the shortening. Add the milk and then roll out to 1/2 inch. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

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