A good friend of mine has a daughter with the “touch.” This is a precious and valued commodity for a southern family as it means pastry and biscuits made by this person will be light, fluffy, edible, and have no relationship to a hockey puck.
It isn’t me. My mother’s mother was said to make the best and lightest biscuits, and she taught my mother. They both had the same size hands so could measure the appropriate amount of flour, salt, and baking powder. I have much bigger hands than my mother and didn’t have biscuit lessons. We used either whomp biscuits or Bisquick.
If you don’t know about whomp biscuits – they come in a can from the grocery store. You unwind a trapezoid shape of paper from the outside of the cylinder and if you don’t hear a “whompf” sound of the biscuits opening, you whomp them on the edge of the counter. Whomp biscuits.
I can make a delicious whomp biscuit – first you melt half a stick of margarine in the pyrex pie plate…then dip the biscuits in the “butter”. Put the dough circles back in the oven to bubble and fry in the excess margarine.
Bisquick was just about the same, but we made drop biscuits and although they were OK, they weren’t Biscuits.
After growing to the appropriate age where they let you live on your own, I ventured into baking. I was thorough – the Crisco was evenly blended into the dry mixture so every lump was pea-sized. The delicate dough was overworked and biscuits were tough.
Then came the diet years. Bread was carefully dolled out and hot breads were just too tempting to eat outside of restaurant settings.
Followed by years of barely cooking. I called the creations casseroles. It is amazing how many ways you can mix up a batch of something, toss it in the microwave and get something edible out of it.
Now I am once again interested in biscuits. Partly because of my venture into the Amish Friendship Bread (AFB, see previous posts for details) and I ran out of bread. Both flour and oil were in the house for the AFB and I thought to give it another try. I found a recipe for Wesson Oil Biscuits at Cooks.com and wondered how bad could they be, considering what I’ve eaten in the past.
I had pulled out the Oster Sandwich toaster (OST) that makes neat triangle pockets out of sandwiches. I ran out of bread because I had fresh tomatoes and a fresh tomato, cheddar cheese, and onion toasted sandwich is quite tasty. I had also used the OST to make triangle shaped pancake AFB, also good.
Why not biscuits? It worked! They were not too bad, but not too light. Allowing the dough to rest a few minutes did give lighter biscuits but it is hard to wait. Of course enough butter covers a multitude of biscuit errors. But too much butter = too many more calories and expensive. Cheese biscuits were still kind of bland. Then I thought of Red Lobster biscuits and started adding garlic powder, seasoned salt (Everglades seasoning is my favorite), onion flakes and pepper. That was GREAT. I made those quite a bit and then wanted something sweet. Hmmm… so then added sugar and cinnamon instead of the savory things. Also good. All adaptations are for ease of a lazy efficient baker.
Wesson Oil biscuits copied from Cooks.com adapted by Dustbunnys
1 c. flour
1/2 Tbs. baking powder (I have a 1/2 Tbs measure which is easier than measuring one and one half tsp or 3 one half tsp, just how my mind works)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 oz Wesson oil
3 oz milk (now if I’ve run out of bread, I’ve probably run out of milk. Substitute 3 oz of water and add 2 Tbs of milk powder to the dry ingredients)
mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
measure water/milk and oil in the same measuring cup. Pour all at once into the flour mixture. Stir with a fork/spoon (whatever) until mixture clears sides of bowl and rounds up into a ball.
Plug in OST and let dough rest while it comes to temp. When the little light shuts off, it is hot and ready to bake biscuits. The ball of dough makes 8 nice biscuits so scoop about 1/8 of the dough into one of the triangle wells. Add a tiny bit of butter (or more) to the top of the dough. When all the wells are filled and buttered, close the lid.
Depends on how much butter you put in…you may hear sizzling right away. Maybe not. Watch the light go back on, reheat the griddle and then turn off again. Do not open! When the light comes on a second time, lift the lid and admire the toasty golden brown biscuits.
Remove and replace with more lumps of raw dough and butter. Try not to eat too many biscuits waiting on the second batch to cook.
I haven’t measured the savory ingredients – I pretty much substitute seasoning salt for the table salt, add garlic powder, onion flakes, and pepper. How much depends on you. I’ll measure next time I make them. If I can find the herb mix for olive oil dipping I plan to make an olive oil batch. Those should be VERY good.
Sweet biscuits – I did measure and write down:
add to dry mixture 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbs sugar
Almost like a scone, but a bit more moist and softer.