If you have ever visited my family home, or any Cape Breton home for that matter, chances are you were offered a hot cup of tea and a fresh biscuit the moment you entered the kitchen. Biscuits and tea are like, a thing around here. Growing up we always had a fresh batch on the counter and absolutely nothing could beat one fresh from the oven with butter and molasses.
So the question is, can I make them? It only took the better part of a year and a big chunk of change to master it, but I did. In that process I learned that quick and easy is best way to go, and that once you find a recipe you like, stick to it. Beware of the old school biscuit makers who all swear by their recipe because your head will spin if you start asking for help. Some use a light pan, some use dark, some use shortening while others use butter. They may recommend using yogurt or milk, sour milk or butter milk, milk mixed with vinegar or just straight water. Some call for sugar, others say no sugar, some say salt and others say no salt... The list goes on and on.
So like I said, I tried and tried and finally found a recipe that worked for me, and using the KitchenAid stand mixer I got it right. Being the generous gal that I am, I decided to share that recipe with you and you should consider yourselves lucky... Giving your biscuit recipe away to just anyone is unheard of where I come from...
1. Clean an old soup can and with your can opener remove both ends. This makes the perfect biscuit cutter with two open ends, which adds air to the biscuit and makes for easy cutting. Clean and keep your new biscuit cutter for future baking!
2. The less you handle the dough the better.
3. Biscuits freeze beautifully. Make a big batch and freeze half, they thaw quickly and are the perfect side to soups and chilli's.
4. Play with the recipe by adding dry ingredients to your dry mixture, and wet ingredients to your milk and egg. For example, sweet biscuits with slivered almonds, cranberries and a splash of almond extract or savory biscuits with cheddar cheese and chives!
The Perfect Biscuit
Preheat oven to 425, rack in middle.
In your mixer bowl use your whisk attachment to thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
7 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
Now add 2/3 cup of shortening and on low-medium speed with the paddle attachment, mix until shortening is combined with flour mixture until it's very fine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup of milk and one egg.
Now using the hook attachment on medium to high speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture. Quickly, using a spatula to scrape the sides of bowl ensure the mixture combines well. The quicker the better!
With floured hands, roll ball of dough onto floured counter. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough out to an even 1.5 inch in thickness. With a floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place on cookie sheet. Recycle what is left and without handling too much, cut out more biscuits. Bake for 10-15 minutes watching for a raised biscuit with a golden brown top.