Cheater Biscuits

My grandparents taught me how to make biscuits. My grandfather taught me the basic recipe, and my grandmother taught me how to cheat. She’d tell me “oh, he says to cut the butter up real small. Let’s just cheat and use the box grater.” When we were rolling out the dough, she’d say, “oops, we rolled it out too thin. Let’s just cheat and double it up and over and no one will ever know.”

Shredded butter Shred two sticks of unsalted butter on your cheese grater. I do mine on a cutting board, then stick it into the freezer until I need it. Save the wrapper from the butter to use to butter the pan before you put the biscuits on it. It there wasn’t enough butter on the wrapper, I spread bacon grease on the pan with a brush.

Mix 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add frozen butter to flour mixture with a fork, tossing lightly to coat butter

Add 1-1/2 cups buttermilk and stir until mixed and no more

Turn out onto floured surface and roll to 1/2 inch thick

Fold dough over on itself, so that it is now 1 inch thick

Cut out biscuits and place just touching in 9 inch round pan

Bake for 14 minutes at 450°F.

Whole wheat biscuits The key seems to be the shredded butter and the fold over. I don’t know why it works, but my biscuits always have a very distinctive middle, it’s the only way I get them to be light and fluffy. Rolling it out thicker gives me hard biscuits every single time, so I just always do the fold over. If I’m cutting them out in shapes, like hearts or whatever, I sometimes just stack two layers, and brush some butter or bacon fat to seal the layers together.

Biscuits and honey I don’t always use whole wheat flour. If I want a sweeter biscuit, I’ll add a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey and use a little less buttermilk. Or use heavy cream. Yum. Sometimes I use lard instead of butter, or a combination of both fats. Yummier.

We try to eat a tablespoon of our own honey every day to help with our seasonal allergies. This is sure a nice way to get that spoonful in! What a hardship.

I’ve always called my biscuits “cheater biscuits” because you can always tell I did the fold-over. My biscuits always have that split in the middle. I don’t care, though. It’s the only way it works for me, and I like light and fluffy biscuits.

I read all sorts of recipes for biscuits. I try them all, but I make sure to shred whatever fat the recipe calls for on the box grater, and freeze it. And I always roll it out too thin, and double it over. I’m so glad my grandma taught me how to cheat!

Heart-shaped biscuits

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6 Comments

  1. Posted February 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I actually LOVE the idea of the foldover, this would make them super easy to split. Grating the butter is a great idea – but for some strange reason I LOVE using my pastry blender so I probably won’t ever do it, maybe because my grandma always used a pastry blender when she made biscuits.

  2. Jo
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    My mother used to always cut two rounds for each biscuit and stack em. You way makes it a whole lot easier to get the stack effect. And grating the butter is genius. Thanks to your grandmother and thanks for posting your recipe.

  3. Posted February 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    When you use lard, what do you do? Is it frozen, then grated? I think these look lovely!

  4. Harmony
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I made these tonight to go on top of chicken pot pie (easier than pie crust and better at sopping up the gravy). Grating the butter is brilliant — these were the easiest biscuits to put together that I’ve ever made. They rose up beautifully and they taste great! (I had to fake the buttermilk, but they are still terrific).

  5. Virginia
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What a great way for your grandmother to improve his information without undermining him in front of you. That’s so cool.

    I’m also curious about grating lard.

  6. maryann
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    What a great recipe! They came out wonderfully. Definately a keeper.

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