I don’t think there’s a soul out there that doesn’t melt at the thought of a biscuit, warm and golden, fresh out of the oven. Now, just imagine the melted butter in the middle. Yet, for all of their down-to-earth plainness, home-made biscuits are a luxury; it takes too much time to cut the butter into the flour, when you can simply pop open a tube — even though those biscuits are laden with hydrogenated oils — that evil substance that will get us all.
Now, you can kiss that tube goodbye and mix your own biscuits with a fork, in under three minutes.
Julee Rosso, author of Great Good Food, has perfected a way to make biscuits with a fork — no cutting or gadgets required — by using a liquid fat, like Canola oil (or light-colored olive oil) rather than a solid fat. The recipe is almost buried in the introduction of her cookbook – it’s all laid out without fanfare or trumpets. It’s time I gave this recipe it’s due.
Mix the biscuits with a fork, and bake them in ten (cooking time is the same as the tube.)
Although I often make them plain, this dough easily takes variations as wild as your imagination. A grating of carrots, rosemary and garlic, parsley or whatever. Plus, I combine some of the milk in the recipe with high-protein ricotta cheese, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese; and suddenly I’ve just boosted the protein quotient too.
Sometimes, I serve these biscuits plain with honey or jam on top, as dessert.
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk (you can use regular milk, spiked with a teaspoon of vinegar, in a pinch.) Or, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup ricotta cheese. You may need to add a bit more milk in the end if mixture is too dry.
- 3 tablespoons neutral light-colored oil. (Canola or Light Olive Oil. Always in a glass jar!)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract ( If using sugar.)
- Optional: Add 1/2 cup grated vegetables of your choice, along with 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese. But make these without the variations first; just so you have a feel for what the dough should be like; so that you can, in the future, make adjustments for dryness or wetness in the dough.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Lightly wipe a cookie sheet with vegetable oil
- Place four sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl and mix.
- Add the buttermilk oil and vanilla (if using) and mix until ingredients are just wet. Do not over mix.
- Add a bit more buttermilk if mixture seems dry. This will be sticky dough. Don’t worry… these biscuits are fool-proof.
- I like to knead the dough for about 30 seconds.
- Drop by teaspoons spaced evenly onto baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
These biscuits do not keep well. Just make enough for tonight’s dinner; if you do have leftovers, store in an air-tight container in your freezer, and microwave them for a minute to serve tomorrow night.