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Hendershot, Ray
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Mammy's Biscuits




"...the fact remains that when a Southerner reaches for a biscuit or a
square of cornbread,  he usually reaches for two, ever mindful of that
oft-repeated invitation to eat: 'Take two and butter 'em while they're hot."

- John T. Edge, A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections
from the American South

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 At Breakfast
At Breakfast
Art Print

Hendershot, Ray
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La Belle Cuisine


Mammy's Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup milk

The original recipe, which I still have on a tattered and stained
3x5 card in my grandmother's handwriting, reads as follows:

"Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening. Add milk
gradually and mix. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes."

In her day, no doubt those instructions were sufficient. For those of
you not as familiar with baking biscuits as past generations were, here
is a revised version of the procedure:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Cut in the shortening with two knives or a pastry blender. The shortening should be the size of small peas. Add the milk and mix quickly. Turn out
onto a floured surface and roll with a floured pin or flatten with the heel
of your hand to about 3/8-inch thickness. DO NOT OVERWORK THE
DOUGH. A light touch is necessary for good
biscuits! Cut with a biscuit
cutter or a water glass. Place the biscuits on a heavy cookie sheet. Bake
for 10 minutes or more, until golden. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen biscuits.

I suppose I should 'fess up and tell you that no matter how hard I try,
I cannot duplicate the delicate texture of my grandmother's biscuits!
Well, not so far anyway...


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