Southern Comfort – Biscuits

by Betty Owens

french-fries-367515_1280When I think of comfort food, French fries come to mind. Not just any French fries. Spicy ones. And I dip them in a mixture of ketchup and Cholula. Now, that’s comforting.

When I’m not feeling well, I usually crave a bowl of fresh veggie soup with a tomato base. Because Grandma always made that when we were sick. And a hard-boiled egg and buttered toast at breakfast. It really did seem to make me feel better. Or maybe it was Grandma’s kisses and all that attention.

But those are not really very good recipes to share, so I need to dig deeper. These days, my cooking and baking has changed. We try to eat “healthier” – cut down on refined sugars and use less salt (except in spicy fries). I learned that I could substitute coconut oil for shortening. It works beautifully, even when making something a little more complicated like biscuits.

So all of my recipes are adaptations. I make substitutions and hope they work. If it doesn’t work, I try again. I’ve had mostly success with coconut oil.

This biscuit recipe results in a product that is a little better for you (until they find bad things in coconut oil). But, if it was too good for you, would it be comfort food? They are so yummy and with just the right amount of butter and jam, absolutely comforting. And your house will smell wonderful.

2212907384_a3114ecff5_zFlaky Biscuits
½ stick cold butter (1/4 cup)
¼ cup coconut oil*
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk**

*I mash coconut oil with a fork before mixing it in flour, because sometimes it’s lumpy.
**I use dry milk, so ¼ cup of dry milk to dry ingredients, then ¾ cup of water instead of milk.

Preheat oven to 450° Yield is 12 biscuits. Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 14 minutes

graterFirst, stir or sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter and coconut oil. To make this really, really easy, I grate the cold butter into the flour and toss it a few times. Yes, you read that right. I use an actual grater with the larger holes. Then I add the coconut oil and use my fingers to blend the ingredients. Add the milk (or water if you used dry milk) and stir with a fork just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed by the milk. Don’t over stir, or they’ll be tough.

Sprinkle flour evenly on a clean surface. Place the dough on the floured surface. Knead it 5 or 6 times. By kneading, I mean fold half the dough over (like a tortilla) mash it down a little and fold it over again. Do this 5 or 6 times. This forms the layers in the biscuits. You’ll be very happy about those.

You may need to lift the dough off the surface and add a little more flour so it doesn’t stick, but don’t overdo it.

Using your fingers, press the dough evenly flat until it’s about ½” thick. Now you get to use the biscuit cutter. If you don’t have one, you can use a glass. Dip your biscuit cutter or glass in dry flour between cuts to keep it from sticking.

Move the biscuits over to the baking sheet (you may need a spatula to move them). Gather the remaining dough into a round ball, knead it a couple of times and press it into another ½” round. Cut and place on the baking sheet.

When all the biscuits are evenly spaced on the baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the fridge for ten minutes. This is important.

While you’re waiting, you can clean up your mess. After the ten minutes is up, move the baking sheet of biscuits to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Enjoy. And for a real Southern experience, serve with a glass of sweet tea.

NOTE: I’m not sure why, but placing the biscuits in the fridge for ten minutes makes them rise really high. Love that. If you master these, your family will love you and that’s comforting, too.

Instead of a writing prompt — I’ve provided a chuckle prompt: