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Easy recipe for biscuits?

hey, i know i should post this somewhere else, but you're the people whose cooking i trust the most. can any of you extremely talented people give me a recipe for easy biscuits? i want something light and airy and delicious, but i have no baking accoutrements - i.e., no mixer, or even the baking paddle in my food processor. all i've got are my two hands, and i know those can sometimes be a detriment in making baked goods light and flaky. i'm thinking of making biscuits and a small ham for our very pared down xmas dinner, so i don't need a recipe that makes a ton of them, or maybe something i can halve? as there will only be three of us. thanks in advance!

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  1. I just recently found and tried this recipe, and it is shockingly good. My husband, a Southerner through and through, thinks the results match the best biscuits he ever had at a family run restaurant in Meridian, MS.

    No need to have any fancy equipment. Hands are the perfect tool.

    7 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      recipe?

      1. re: magiesmom

        Oh sorry. Forgot to paste:

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

        1. re: smtucker

          This sounds really good and I've saved it. I see so many recipes these days that make biscuits sound like cake instead of bread. I'm going to do chicken fried steak with pan gravy one night soon. I'll add these to the repertoire. Thanks.

          1. re: c oliver

            There's an informal rule in the US that a modest addition of egg and/or sugar turns biscuits into scones. Cake requires even more eggs and sugar.

            1. re: paulj

              You're so smart :) That makes sense. About every five to ten years I'll have a scone. Most are too sweet.

          2. re: smtucker

            I wonder how they would come out if !/2 & !/2 or whole milk was used ?

            1. re: scunge

              Extra fat in the milk does no harm in biscuits. Some recipes even use heavy cream in place of the butter and milk. However in this recipe, the skim milk and lemon juice are a substitute for cultured buttermilk.

      2. no worries! Biscuits are the easiest thing in the world and require no equipment at all. Use a glass instead of a cutter. Here is my favorite recipe:http://southern.food.com/recipe/cream...

        1. Hand-Squashed Cathead Biscuits (from Chowhound poster Andy P.)

          2 cups White Lily (or other) self-rising flour
          ½ cup lard
          ¾ cup buttermilk

          Cut shortening into flour till it looks like meal. Add enough milk to make the dough come away from the sides of the bowl. Throw it onto a floured surface, and knead it 10 or more times. Pinch off 6 or 8 good-size pieces and hand squash them into biscuits no more than ¾ inch thick. Place on an ungreased baking tin and put in a preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown, and as big as cat heads.

          These biscuits are especially awesome with good lard, but even the stuff in the green and white box does the trick. Soooo gooooood!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chris VR

            what would an example of good lard be? and so i'm assuming no crisco? i am no baker, so please excuse my ignorance!

            1. re: mariacarmen

              Real lard is rendered, solidified pork fat. It has a rich flavor, sometimes with porky overtones, depending on how the lard was rendered. I've never bought it, just rendered it myself. I think you can buy it at some specialty butchers, though. It's worth searching out because it really does make heavenly biscuits.

              Before I started rendering, I bought lard in sticks (Armor brand, maybe?) at Hispanic markets. It doesn't have much flavor, but it's not as neutral as Crisco.

              1. re: Chris VR

                I buy lard at a Latino market by the pound. Snow white, not a distinct pork flavor. I love crisping up their corn tortillas in a little of it. My mother (Southerner) always made biscuits with Crisco.

                1. re: Chris VR

                  ok, thanks! i have latino markets in my neighborhood, so i will pick some up.

            2. (I had this on the What's For Dinner thread but the mods moved it.) Thanks everyone, i'll look these over. Appreciate more input too, thanks!

              1. Lately, I've been using the Cook's Illustrated recipe with the melted butter in the food processor. But given that you asked for a "no equipment" recipe, I'll give you the recipe that I've been using for years. I think I got the original from another chowhound, davwud.

                3 cups all purpose flour
                2 tablespoons sugar (cut back for savoury biscuits)
                4 teaspoons baking powder
                1 teaspoon salt
                1 teaspoon baking soda
                3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
                1 cup buttermilk (I usually add a couple of tablespoons more)

                Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Blend 3/4 butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal -- I just do this by hand. Get your hands in there and literally squish/pinch the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

                I cut this recipe in half with no problems when I just want a few biscuits. I find a half recipe make 6 perfectly sized biscuits.

                1. Hey dolly:
                  You'll need 2 c. ap flour, 4 T. unsalted butter, 4 T. lard (or crisco, but not butter flavored) 2 tsp. baking powder, and 3/4 c. milk (I like buttermilk, and if I'm using sweet milk I usually add 2 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to it beforehand to sour it) and a dash salt. I'm not clear if only the baking paddle on your cuisi is missing or if you have the blade attachment, but if you do have the blade attach., put all ingredients starting with flour into well and add rest of ingredients. If the butter and lard are very cold it helps a lot, too; you can even cut it into little cubes first for faster,easier distribution. Now give it just 2-3 pulses and it should resembles finely-cut pastry dough, little crumbs, at which point you turn it into a bowl, add the liquid, and gather it into a ball using a kneading motion with your palms. Don't overdo it; the streaks of shortening in the dough are what makes the layers; fully incorporated, they'd be tough. Ok, if you don't have a cuisi at all, put all ingredients minus liquid into a bowl and use two forks to cut into small blended crumbs (hands are fine for this too; even better imo) and then stir in liquid. Stir just til it forms a ball, and knead very gently very few times. Pat out 1/2" thick. This is the important part; most people roll out to 1/4" and then are shocked when they don't get tall, light, fluffy biscuits. So; 1/2 in. thick, brush tops with melted butter and in they go @450 for 10-12 minutes. Don't worry about leftovers; they're great the next day, buttered after splittting, and toasting and serving with jam or under sausage gravy or curried eggs.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mamachef

                    thanks mama! i DO have a FP, just lost the paddle blade somewhere along the way. i like that i can use the regular blade for part of this process. thanks again, and to Toronto Jo too!

                  2. Find a good recipe (they are simple) but the biggest problem is mixing it too much. I combine everything until it stick together, dump it on a floured surface and roll and fold about 6 times, buttering the surface between folds. This makes a very flaky pull apart biscuit. perfect for a little jalapeño jelly and cream cheese. mmmmmm

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: imachimper

                      Same. You don't want the fat to melt while you handle the dough. You can even refrigerate it for it to harden somewhat prior to baking for all those lovely layer. The biscuits I make with most success are buttermilk biscuits.

                    2. The absolute easiest (and I think best recipe) for biscuits is Cook's Country / Americas Test Kitchen's Drop Biscuits. I'm not a baker and they turn out amazing. The recipe uses a technique of drizzling melted butter into cold butter milk to create the necessary little lumps of butter and it's a brilliant idea. No messy fingers, no food processors, and no fuss.

                      The recipe is available online, but unfortunately Cook's Country wants your e-mail address to show it. Otherwise, the exact same recipe is available on this link :
                      http://twopeasandtheirpod.com/recipe-...

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                        thank you! and for all of everyone's advice!

                        1. re: PoppiYYZ

                          A couple of other ways of adding the fat:
                          - grate frozen butter on to the dry ingredients, and mix lightly
                          - use heavy cream (providing both the fat and liquid at the same time)

                          There are Chow recipes for both.

                          Butter or shortening in small disks, as produced by squeezing between your fingers, produces the flakiest biscuits, while a wet dough can produce the lightest.

                          1. re: paulj

                            good information, thanks for this.

                            1. re: paulj

                              an example with frozen butter (the cheese is not essential)
                              http://www.chow.com/recipes/10722-che...
                              and sweet potato one with frozen butter
                              http://www.chow.com/recipes/10886-swe...

                              A recipe using 2c of flour will give enough biscuits for the 3 of you, with a few left over for breakfast.

                              1. re: paulj

                                The breakfast use I call "toasted cheese bubbly biscuits"!!! They will have been buttered the night before. Sliced cheese (I use cheddar) on top, then under the broiler until "bubbly." That was one of my favorite breakfasts growing up.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  those cheese ones sound like they'd go great with our ham.... but, paulj, when you say a recipe using 2c of flour, you don't mean i can cut the cheddar biscuit recipe down to 2 cups, right? i'd have to cut everything else too. i assume you're referring to other recipes that were posted here which call for only 2 cups. that was helpful, thanks!

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    I did not have any specific recipe in mind when I wrote that 2c would be an appropriate size. As long as you keep the proportions correct you can adjust the size of any of recipe. You need the same proportions and baking time whether you make a half dozen biscuits or two dozen. But you don't want a lot of left overs since biscuits get stale faster than bread. But many recipes already are in the 2c range.