There is a trick to making great biscuits. The care you give the dough makes all the difference in the world. Handle it roughly, you’ll be disappointed. Gentleness will be rewarded the flakiness and great taste.
The ingredients are few and simple:
2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda (only if you use buttermilk) 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons shortening 3/4 cup buttermilk (or plain milk, but leave out the baking soda)
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Using a pastry fork or a regular fork, mix the shortening into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
Add the milk all at once. Mix together. Make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed into the dough. The dough will be sticky.
Put the dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle some extra flour over the top of the dough.
GENTLY kneed the dough, adding just a little extra flour. Fold the dough two or three times, and that’s all. (The more you handle it, the tougher the biscuits will be.)
You can either pat the dough out using your hands, or use a floured rolling pin. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
Use a biscuit cutter, placing the biscuits on a non-greased cookie sheet. (If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can drop spoonfuls of dough on the pan, but do this before kneeding or adding extra flour).
Bake the biscuits in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.
The recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever you need!
If you add some sugar, the biscuits are more like shortcake. Delicious!
He hates grocery shopping with his mother. He never tells her she’s weird, but she is. She buys the same stuff every week. He knows what she’s going to buy before she even leaves the house. Bread, milk, eggs, coffee, bran cereal, and worst of all, baloney. When his mother orders the meat she always says, “One pound of baloney, sliced thin. If it’s sliced too thick, it gives my husband gas, and we don’t want that.”
He comes up with a plan he is sure will work. His mom won’t let him stay home, so he’ll say he has to go to the bathroom and he’ll stay in there until she’s done shopping. Brilliant!
“I have to go to the bathroom, mom.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for you right here, dear”, she says.
“No, mom, you go ahead and get the groceries and I’ll meet you at the front”, he answers.
“Oh, no, dear. I’ll wait right here. I love grocery shopping together. You go ahead, I’ll wait right here.” She didn’t get it, and he couldn’t tell her.
Now he’s stuck. He doesn’t have to use the bathroom, but now he has to fake it. He goes in the stall, locks the door, and waits. When it’s been long enough, he tries to open the door. It won’t budge. He bangs on it. Nothing. He takes a pen from his pocket and uses it to force the lock. The pen snaps in half and spills black ink all over his hands. He wipes his hands on his pants, totally forgetting he is still wearing his school clothes.
“Why does this stuff always happen to me?!!” He quietly screams to himself.
“Mom!” He says just loud enough so she might hear him.
“Mom!!” He says just a little bit louder.
“Mommmm!!!” He finally screams in total frustration.
“What is it, dear?” she calls through the door.
“I can’t get the door open! Come in and help me, please!” he yells.
“Oh, no, dear, I can’t come in there. It’s the men’s bathroom” she calls.
“Mom!! There’s no one in here but me!! Please come in and help me!!”
“I’ll get the manager, dear.”
“No! Mom! Just come and help me!!”
“Don’t you worry, dear. I’ll be right back.”
He sits down on the toilet, wondering what he did to deserve this.
Soon he hears someone come in. “Son? Are you in there?”
“Yes, I can’t get the door open”, he answers.
“Your mother tells me you don’t like going grocery shopping. Why is that?” he asks.
“What? Please! Just open the door! It’s locked!
“Oh, it is? I thought you didn’t want to come out” the manager says.
“No! The door won’t open!” he says.
“Well, why didn’t you say that?! I’ll go get something to open it.”
“Finally!” he whispers to himself. As he’s waiting, he can hear the faint sound of sirens. They’re getting closer.
Suddenly, two firemen burst into the bathroom. “Son!! Are you in there?!” One of them yells, even though he’s right outside the stall door.
“Yes, please open the door.”
“Ok, son, you need to calm down. Take a deep breath. Say this with me, I’m going to be alright,” the fireman says.
“Please, just open the door.”
“Why don’t you want to go grocery shopping with your mother, son?”
“What?!! Pleeease!! Just open the door. It’s locked! It won’t open!” he yells.
The fireman answers, “What? It’s locked? Why didn’t you say that. Stand back!”
Soon a motor starts, and sparks begin flying. Suddenly the stall door swings open.
“Thank you! Thank you!” he says, and tries to walk past the firemen.
“Oh, no, son. You’ve been through trauma. We need to take you to the hospital.”
“What?! No! I just want to go home!”
One of the firemen takes him by the arm and lays him down on a stretcher. He is pushed through the store as he continues to yell.
“Mom!! Don’t let them take me!! I’m fine!! I just want to go home!”
He is pushed into a waiting ambulance. The doors are closed and soon they are speeding to the hospital. When they arrive, the doors swing open and he is wheeled into the emergency room.
“This looks serious!” a doctor says. “We’re going to have to operate immediately.”
“Operate?! No! I’m fine! I just want to go home!”
He is wheeled into a bright room. A mask is placed over his face and the room begins to spin.
“Mommm!! Don’t let them…”
“Wake up! Wake up!”
He opens his eyes and is shocked to see his own bedroom.
“You were yelling in your sleep, dear. Get your hands washed, dinner is ready.”
Are your pancakes something to be avoided? Do you find them hidden around the house after your family is finished eating? Have you thought about using your pancakes for coasters? Can your pancakes stand on edge? Could they be used for shelf markers at the local library?
You too can make pancakes like a chef in a fancy restaurant.
Great pancakes are easy to make, but if you stumble into just a few common mistakes, your pancakes will be used for shoe leather. Promise.
I have been making pancakes since I was nine years old. That, uh, was a very long time ago. But it seems like yesterday.
There are a couple of secrets. I use the word “secrets” because there are many people who, evidently, have not discovered the simple secrets to making fantastic pancakes.
The first secret, oh, so important, is:
You must have a very HOT griddle!
I turn an electric griddle to 400, as high as it will go. I use the highest flame on our gas stove.
Ok, let’s start at the beginning, now that you know your griddle or pan has to be very, very hot.
1. The recipe is not the most important part! You can make fantastic pancakes using a mix. I use a buttermilk mix to which I only have to add water. Delicious!
2. Secret #2 – Test the griddle! The griddle or pan is not hot enough until drops of water dance on it! Wet your hand, flick the water at the pan. If the drops don’t dance on the griddle, it’s not hot.
3. Secret #3 – DO NOT add the water (or liquid ingredients if using a scratch recipe) to the mix until the griddle is ready!
4. Secret #4 – LUMPS ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY! Lumps are not to be sought out and destroyed! DO NOT beat the crap out of the batter! Using a fork for stirring, add the liquid ingredients, mix it over a few times, make sure there isn’t a bunch of dry mix on the bottom of the bowl. Then leave it alone! Don’t give in to the temptation to stir it again!
5. Secret #5 – After preparing the griddle with cooking spray or butter, use a small ladleor a 1/4 cup measure to pour batter on the HOT griddle. You will want to spray the griddle again after two batches.
6. SECRET #6 – ATTENTION PLEASE!! ATTENTION!! ONLY FLIP THE PANCAKES ONCE!!! ONCE!!! AND DON’T EVER, EVER, EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING THE TOP OF THE PANCAKE WITH YOUR FLIPPER!! Don’t wait until the bubbles pop, or crust forms on the edge, or until a buzzer goes off. With a very hot griddle, you only have to wait a few minutes and side one is done. If they are not dark enough, DON’T FLIP THEM BACK OVER, EVER! Just wait a little longer for the next batch.
Put the finished cakes on a cookie in the oven (already prepared) at 175 degrees.
Put a stack on your plate, add butter, syrup, fruit, yogurt, whipped cream, or anything else you want, and enjoy! Your family is going to think a French chef has come to live with them. They’ll say, “What have you done?! Who made these?!” Of course, the temptation to slap them should be resisted.
That is how you make delicious, non-frisbee, non-shoe leather, non-hockey puck, non-coaster pancakes.