Moron Test Kitchen – Old Fashioned Biscuits

Last week I wrote a post about visiting with my great-grandparents, and my mother said something in the comments that I couldn’t shake –

Her biscuits were as good as cookies.

Now THAT is a biscuit I’d like to try. I called my mom, but of course no recipe exists. The only thing I could get out of her was that Cuma used lard and that she had a big bowl of flour. I’m not even sure those two things were related, but whatever. I googled and found a recipe for southern biscuits that included lard, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

What I needed: Lard, Flour, Baking Powder, Milk (I went for buttermilk because it seems like something a country person would do) and salt. Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lard or shortening
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • I gathered all of the ingredients, pulled out a bowl, and grabbed my computer so I could read what to do first. Immediately, things went awry.
  • Preheat oven 450 degrees.  Make sure the rack is in the center.
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Cut in lard til it all resembles small peas.
  • Pepper?? Where does the list of ingredients mention pepper? I consulted JD who said just to leave it out, then I called my mom and she seconded the opinion, but it unnerved me. How could I trust anything this person had to say?

    It flustered me so much I forgot everything and just dumped all of the ingredients into the bowl.

    Yes, I stopped to take a picture of the milk, but not to actually READ the recipe, because if I had, I’d have known that the milk goes in much later. Oh well.
    Using the same, no-reading strategy as above, I also dumped the lard into the bowl. Thankfully I realized that looked a little odd, so I pulled it back out and began to s-l-o-w-l-y cut it into the mix.
    Then I began to use a whisk and a fork to work all the ingredients together. I realized something in the midst of this – good cooking takes patience. Even though I had no where to be, and no one was waiting on breakfast, I kept trying to rush through this part. I can see where this would be a good activity for a mother/daughter to do together. A pair could really bond over the mixing bowls.  Moon and I would probably go insane, but some other mother/daughter pair ought to try it.
    Anyway, my mixture looked dry so I called my mom and she said to add a little more milk, and then it looked wet and she said to add a little more flour. Then it looked dry again. That went on for approximately 108 minutes, until finally, I got something that resembled dough.
    Now it was time to knead. My mother was on my phone’s speaker by this point and she said I had to get air into the dough. I pointed out that I could handle this part, thank you very much, because I had taken several pottery classes and was familiar with kneading clay. And she pointed out that you knead clay to get the air OUT and I realized that I know nothing.
    So after kneading the dough 4 times, per the recipe, I used a roller to make it thin.
    Then I used a glass out of the pantry to cut the biscuits out of the dough. This is the one thing I remember my mom doing. I think I got the size of the glass just right!

    Next I put them on an ungreased sheet, on the middle rack, and cooked them for 12 minutes. And, VIOLA!

    Spoiler alert: They weren’t better than cookies.

    They were thin and dense, and no amount of butter or jelly could save them.

    Moon tried a bite and immediately drank an entire glass of chocolate milk to get the taste out of her mouth.

    JD might have chipped a tooth.

    Moron Test Kitchen grade – D. Yes, I read the recipe wrong, but it was still too hard for the average moron. I’m going to try again using self-rising flour, which according to my mother, is a suitable substitute for all-purpose/baking powder. If I do that, and put the ingredients in the right order, I’ll get a much better biscuit.

    Still, it makes you wonder. Just how bad were Cuma’s cookies?

    3 thoughts on “Moron Test Kitchen – Old Fashioned Biscuits

    1. Ha Ha Ha! Hilarious! J.D. should have told you about his “Big Mama’s” cat head biscuits. Shame on him for not helping you.

      Jean says you should have mixed everything by hand I thought you should have melted the lard, but Jean say NO !

      Your mother was right. You needed to get some air in the mixture. I want some next trip to the frozen North. Biscuits, not air.

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