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Chicken and Dumplings

As a kid growing up, my mom used to make dumplings (off the Biscuik box recipe I'm pretty sure) that were light and fluffy. Every time I try it I get a little fluff around a mostly chewy ball. Anyone know how I might duplicate what Mom used to do, or has old age dampened my memory and they were never fluffy?

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  1. Without even knowing your recipe, I'm wondering if it's possible you're overmixing the batter? Could that be it? For the most part, that sort of batter should be stirred until just combined.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Olivia

      wow. Maybe that is it. Wouldn't that be an easy fix and it would make me soo happy. Thanks, I'll try that next time.

    2. Are you keeping the lid on the pot the whole time while the dumplins are cooking? Keeping the lid off will result in a tough dumplin.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vafarmwife

        I like Irma Rombauer's recipe for dumplings in the old JOC. (And maybe new editions have the same version; I don't know.) Anyway, she recommends what you do, to simmer them covered the whole time. I mention it because I've also used recipes that call for cooking them uncovered for half the time; then, covering them for the second half of cooking, but I like the results from her instructions best.

        She also recommends using cake flour, but I hardly ever have that on hand. I use KA unbleached, and they're always light and fluffy.

        1. re: Normandie

          If you don't have cake flour you can always add 2 tbsp. of cornstarch to 1 cup of AP flour to imitate cake flour's low protein content. adam

          1. re: adamshoe

            Oh, thank you so much, adam. I never knew that! Would this work for sweet cakes and pastries that might call for cake flour?

      2. I agree with others that one key to light dumplings is to keep the lid on. And that means at all times and NO peeking.

        1. I make them the way your mom made them, and mine are also light and fluffy. As Olivia says, you may well be overmixing the dough. Two things you NEVER want to mix long enough to incorporate all of the flour are biscuits and pancakes, so the same holds true when you're using the biscuit dough for dumplings. Then you have to have your chicken soup in a pot large enough for the dumplings to sit on top and not touch the lid as they rise. Then I just drop the dumplings on from a spoon, leave enough room between them to expand, put the lid on and cook at a medium simmer with the lid tightly closed. If you use a Bisquick box recipe, look for the one for "drop biscuits." But I also make my own drop biscuit batter from scratch, but just a little wetter than I would for the biscuits, and it works fine. Hope this helps!

          1. artlee I like the bisquick recipe too. Where are you dropping the dough? The dumplings come out differently if you drop them on a big piece of chicken or onto a couple of carrots. I like them both ways but I tend to add five minutes to the cooking time, usually the last portion. The added cooking has worked out for me. Nice and fluffy. Yum! Wish I had some right now. I'm always surprised at how well they nuke up the next day. Oh, that's another thing, I love leftovers so I often make a double batch. That is probably why I increased the cooking time. Heh. Let us know what worked out for you.

            1. Sounds as though they didn't properly cook. When it comes to dumplings, RULE #1 is DON'T PEEK and DON'T STIR! The lid must remain on the pot, undisturbed for a certain length of time while the dumplings are cooking, to make sure that the dumplings are thoroughly cooked through.

              My SIL invited DH and me to a Chicken and Dumpling meal. However, she just could not refrain from lifting the lid and stirring, to see how everything was coming along. The result was Chicken and gummy Dough Balls.

              1. Love the Bisquick dumplings, even after trying many times to make them from scratch.I only have problems when I get carried away and make the dumplings to big. Try to keep them the same size, drop them in a wide pan or pot. You do need simmering sauce to drop them in my sauce is borderline gravy. Cover and like everyone else says, don't uncover until the time is up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I have better luck with Bisquick than making dumplings from scratch also. Though I did use the Trader Joe's bisquick-esque mix a couple of times and they turned out fine. I like the Bisquick ones a little better though. I also make shortcake with the Bisquick mix and recipe, but I use a nine inch round cake pan instead of making six little shortcakes. Good stuff.