May 28, 2017

Biscuits

The tops of the biscuits should be a rich golden brown, a sign that they are baked through.

Janine Pineo Photo | The tops of the biscuits should be a rich golden brown, a sign that they are baked through.

There is nothing like a biscuit, warm from the oven, covered in melted butter.

I am not talking hockey-puck-style biscuits, nor the ethereal variety that make you wonder if you just ate a piece of fluff. No, these are the good biscuits that make you feel like you ate a meal.

I can make these biscuits without looking at a recipe. Or measure anything too exactly. So giving you a recipe was kind of painful to do.

These biscuits are great with baked beans, soups or stews. They also are the best biscuit you can have for strawberry shortcake. Oh, yes, they are the best.

Interestingly, one of the ingredients is a staple here in Maine. It is even made here in Maine, not far from where I live. It is called Bakewell Cream and was created as a cream of tartar substitute during the second World War during shortages. If you don’t have any Bakewell Cream, you can use baking powder in its stead. Not quite as fantastic, but the biscuits are still edible.

Biscuits

4 heaping cups flour
4 heaping teaspoons Bakewell Cream
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 shortening
3 cups skim milk
Extra flour
Extra shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need a 9×13-inch baking dish; do NOT grease.

Mix dry ingredients together. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in shortening. Add about half of the milk and mix roughly, then add more milk until dough is sticky. You may need a little more than 3 cups, or you may need a little less. Biscuit dough should be very sticky, so if you place your hand on it, your hand would be coated with dough.

Mix only until dry ingredients are mixed because overmixing will make for a tough biscuit.

Biscuit dough should be very sticky, so if you place your hand on it, your hand would be coated with dough.

Janine Pineo Photo | Biscuit dough should be very sticky, so if you place your hand on it, your hand would be coated with dough.

Generously sprinkle flour over a clean counter and turn dough onto it.

After generously dusting the top of the dough with flour, gently flatten the dough with the palm of your hand until it is about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Janine Pineo Photo | After generously dusting the top of the dough with flour, gently flatten the dough with the palm of your hand until it is about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Sprinkle the top generously with flour and gently pat it down with the palm of your hand. It should be about 1 1/2 inches thick and roughly the size of the  9×13-inch pan.

With either a cookie cutter, coffee mug or regular-sized glass, cut out biscuits. Place each into pan, snug against the other and top with a pat of shortening.

Janine Pineo Photo| With either a cookie cutter, coffee mug or regular-sized glass, cut out biscuits. Place each into pan, snug against the other and top with a pat of shortening.

With either a cookie cutter, coffee mug or regular-sized glass, cut out biscuits. You likely will need to flour the edges of your cutter a few times as you cut out biscuits to keep it from completely sticking to the cutter.

Place each into pan, snug against the other. In general, you should get 15 to 16 biscuits that fill the pan.

With a butter knife, place a small dab of shortening on top of each biscuit.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the tops are a rich golden brown. Also when you tap on the top of a biscuit toward the center, it should sound a bit hollow.

Remove from the oven and spread margarine or butter across the top. If you use a stick of margarine, simply swipe the end of the stick over the top of each biscuit.

The finished biscuits

Janine Pineo Photo | The finished biscuits

Let cool for a few minutes. To remove from pan, you may need to gently slice around a biscuit to get it out without bringing half of  another biscuit with it.

Serve warm with butter or margarine.

Store in a loosely covered contain.

– Janine Pineo