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Baking Powder Biscuits

My mother and I have this long running argument (she calls it a discussion) about biscuits. I like to make rolled biscuits that are cut out. I just love the way they look, they split perfectly for buttering, etc. They puff up so beautifully in the oven. It just makes me happy to seem them lined up on the cookie sheet. Just getting barely golden on the bottom.

My mother, on the other hand, is a firm believer in drop biscuits. More free form, less work, less clean up. To me, they are too haphazard. They don't split well for eating with chicken and gravy, they bake unevenly, etc.

This has been going on forever and will never be resolved. Since I do the cooking, I make the rolled biscuits. So that is that, as they say.

My grandmother always used a water glass to cut the biscuits. Recently, I have started doing the same thing. I don't have to dig through thousands of cookie cutters looking for the right size round cookie cutter. Besides, I kind of like being the one to carry on her tradition.

The most beautiful part of these, the endless variations: Bacon Biscuits (!!!), Buttermilk Biscuits, Cheese Biscuits, Crusty Rich Biscuits.

I make these for Christmas dinner. I usually make them for Thanksgiving. I make them when we have Chicken, Gravy and Biscuits. So, here it is. The Baking Powder Biscuit recipe. Use it in semi-good health!

Baking Powder Biscuits

1 3/4 + 2 Tablespoons flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Blend flour, baking powder and salt.

Cut in shortening with a pastry blender. (By the way, click on the link and buy yourself one of these from The Pampered Chef. It is just the best one I have ever used. Our last one, seriously...lethal weapon.)

Add milk. Stir with a fork until all ingredients are moistened. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Knead gently 20 times.

Roll dough into 1/2-inch thickness.

Cut with floured 2-inch biscuit cutter (or cookie cutter or a glass if the mood strikes)

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes. Don't do what I do and wander off and forget you have biscuits in the oven. They aren't nearly as good when the bottoms are black and smoky.

Now for the mouth watering variation:

Bacon Biscuits

Fry 4 slices of bacon until crisp. Drain well. Cut into small pieces. Prepare the Baking Powder Biscuits as directed above except add bacon pieces to biscuit mixture after shortening. Complete the recipe as directed.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prepare Baking Powder Biscuits as directed above, except add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to dry ingredients. Substitute 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk for sweet milk. Complete recipe as directed.

Cheese Biscuits

Prepare Baking Powder Biscuits as directed above, except cut 3/4 cup of grated sharp cheese into biscuit mixture after shortening. Complete recipe as directed.

Crusty Rich Biscuits

Prepare Baking Powder Biscuits as directed above except increase shortening to 1/3 cup. Complete recipe, but roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness.

Drop Biscuits

Prepare Baking Powder Biscuits as directed except increase flour to 2 cups and milk to 1 cup. Combine ingredients as directed.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 450°for 12-15 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen biscuits.

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