A Comfort Food I Bet You’ve Been Missing

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.)

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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.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lightly wipe a cookie sheet with vegetable oil
  3. Place four sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl and mix.
  4. Add the buttermilk oil and vanilla (if using) and mix until ingredients are just wet.  Do not over mix.
  5. Add a bit more buttermilk if mixture seems dry. This will be sticky dough. Don’t worry… these biscuits are fool-proof.
  6. I like to knead the dough for about 30 seconds.
  7. Drop by teaspoons spaced evenly onto baking sheet.
  8. 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.

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