I’ve been making biscuits for many years now. Not because I remember my mother at the kitchen counter delicately cutting cold butter into flour to later produce a light and flaky biscuit-our biscuits were produced from a can and they were perfectly acceptable-but because one day I found an easy recipe for homemade biscuits and decided I could make them. And I did. Over the years, maybe two or three times a year, I would make biscuits just because I had all the ingredients in the house and I had the urge for something quick and freshly baked. I never thought twice about these biscuits. I never experimented with them or had the desire to improve upon the recipe. I never made them for company and nobody ever begged me to make them and more often than not the extras would sit in the refrigerator for days until even microwaving them wasn’t worth the effort. Fast forward to the present. I’m reading a book based on the south. I’m a northerner but I take delight in all these southern. Especially the food. So it is no wonder that when food is mentioned in this particular book I instantly become more alert-never mind the love story. The character was eating a biscuit she described as “melt in your mouth” good. Wait a minute. My biscuits were good but they certainly did not melt in your mouth. At that moment I decided I must have these biscuits. These biscuits that melt in your mouth. My biscuit recipe needed to be revisited. I know the basic rules of baking, especially when working with doughs for pies, scones, or biscuits; the butter must be very cold and do not overhandle the delicate dough. I’d been doing this all along. Why didn’t my biscuits melt in your mouth. Believe me, I know the difference between something that melts in your mouth and something that needs a little liquid to help it go down. Nothing I did was giving me the results I desired. Good biscuits but no melting. Then something, that at the time I thought very silly, came back to me. When I was taught how to roll out pastry dough to be fitted into a round pie dish I was told in order to make a round shape as opposed to square or any other shape, I had to “think round” as I was rolling. Not that this has worked for me everytime but I liked the idea. In biscuit making I know the dough has to be worked gently and the first idea that popped into my head was a babies bottom. Or more specifically how you gently handle a babies bottom when you are changing their diaper or softly pat patting their diapered rump while trying to calm a fussy baby over your shoulder. The kneading movements reminded me of the way you very carefully fold the corners of a diaper over a babies tummy so it is nice and snug. Your hands are loose and light in movement. So now as I combine the wet ingredients with the dry I use my fingertips with my palms slightly cupped and I’m thinking babies bottom, babies bottom. Once the dough is just combined I dump it onto the counter and as I gather and knead still thinking babies bottom babies bottom. Lightly pat patting out the dough to about a half an inch thick rectangle to be cut into rounds to become the most light and fluffy melt in your mouth biscuits ever! Finally. I have made these biscuits many times over the past few days. They have become “the famous biscuits”. I crave them even though I know making them so often requires eating them which in the long run will not be so good for my rump. But they are oh so good, with honey, your favorite jam or just plain.
Recipe: Quick, Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup cold buttermilk
Preheat oven 400 degrees
Mix in a bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter and shortening to the bowl and using your fingers or a pastry cutter work the butter and shortening into the flour. leaving it sort of chunky. Add the cold buttermilk all at once and work in with your hands or a wooden spoon. Dump onto counter and pat out into a circle and cut out biscuits with a glass or 2 inch biscuit cutter. Brush the tops with some melted butter and bake in center of oven 12-15 minutes. Eat warm and enjoy!