It’s confession time. I’m not much of a Southern cook.
Can’t fry chicken without it being, um, well done on the outside and still pink on the inside. Fried okra? Could use them as ammunition.
And, no. No big fluffy biscuits have ever magically appeared from the oven.
My friend Rick, who is currently touring the South promoting his book about the history of Southern food, just shakes his head. Now, I can make some things. Pimento cheese, deviled eggs, corn pudding, collards and red beans and rice. But the other fried and homey things escape me.
But, back to biscuits.
It’s not really a tragedy of major proportions. You can get a fine biscuit just about anywhere these days, from fast food to fine dining – Southern food is the darling of the culinary world right now.
But sometimes on a Sunday morning, when we’ve got a new jar of honey or molasses from the farmer’s market, I just want a biscuit.
And now it’s time for another confession. I like my biscuits sweet. I also put sugar on my grits and prefer hush puppies with honey butter. This sweet tooth thing might be out of control – I don’t know.
But, again back to biscuits.
I’ve found two ways around the dilemma. One is is what I euphemistically call “angel biscuits”, even though there’s none of the traditonal yeast in them, so no pesky rising or waiting. The other is just plain cheating. Cheating with a baking mix and lots of fat. Now, what could be more Southern than that? Both of the end results are still homemade and still hot from the oven. So, in the immortal words of Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad…
They are flat, dense and yet still tender.
I roll them thin and stack two together so you get a nice, steamy inside when you break it open.
Makes a dozen in you stack them
2 cups self-rising flour
1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/3 cup solid shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
grease baking sheets
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Add shortening and cut it in until mixture is crumbly. Stir in buttermilk quickly. With floured hands and surface, knead for 3-5 minutes. Roll out, cut into rounds and place on baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes.
Come on, you know you’ve had them, or made them.
Let’s revive the tradition of baking by not baking.
2 cups baking mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease baking sheets
Combine all the ingredients, stirring as little as possible.
For free-form biscuits, spoon out mounds on the baking sheet.
If you want a little control, bake them in greased muffin cups.