The original recipe for these biscuits comes from my orange, tattered-covered copy of Betty Crocker Cookbook, although Betty used shortening in hers, and although I'm sure it would taste delicious, I really try to avoid using shortening whenever possible, so I revised the recipe to just butter or olive oil.
This biscuit recipe is so incredibly easy since there is no yeast involved, just the reaction of baking powder and salt to create a light and fluffy biscuit. It's so versatile, too--you can use skim, lowfat, or whole milk, (or buttermilk), as well as the addition of any sort of flavor variation you'd like to create such as grated cheese and chives, freshly-cracked pepper and green onions, onions and garlic... really any sort of herbs or finely chopped veggies you'd like to add will bake beautifully in these biscuits. Although I haven't tried fruit, I'm now tempted to try a sweet version using fresh strawberries or apricots.
I also add a little more milk to make drop biscuits instead of cutout biscuits, because personally I like the rustic look of a casually formed biscuit instead of a perfectly round cutout biscuit. These also keep very well for several days--when reheating, I would recommend splitting and toasting them under the broiler (rewarming them in the microwave will make them tough and chewy).
Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
- 2/3 - 3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. If you will be adding any other dry ingredients such as herbs, grated cheese, chopped onions, etc, add them now.
Add 6 tablespoons butter and cut in with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Add milk and stir with a wooden spoon or knead with your hands until just combined. Add slightly less milk for cutout biscuits, and slightly more for drop biscuits.
For cutout biscuits, sprinkle the counter with flour, and roll dough out to about a 1-inch thickness. Cut using a biscuit cutter dipped in flour. For drop biscuits, use a large spoon to place dollops of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet (recipe makes about 10 biscuits). Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, until peaks of dough are nicely browned, but do not overbake. The centers should be very soft. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and brush over the tops of the biscuits when you take them out of the oven.
Serve immediately with butter, jam, honey, or plain--delicious any way!