Ugly Biscuits
Ugly Biscuits just moments away from browning

Sometimes, you just need a buttery homemade biscuit.  Whomp biscuits, even the “good” kind, simply won’t do.  You know what a whomp biscuit is, don’t you?  It comes in a can and you whomp it against the countertop to open it up and plop those molded lumps of dough on the pan.  12 minutes or so later, you have a hot, sturdy biscuit.  That’s fine…on a weekday before school when you want to put something  portable in the kids’ hands.  Whomp biscuits even taste pretty good–if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a real biscuit, that is.

What if I told you that fresh, from-scratch, flaky, homemade biscuits are not only possible, but practical?  I’m talking one bowl, y’all.  Maybe 5 more minutes, tops.  What do you get?  Pure pleasure that would make a pat of butter proud.  Definite Mom/Wife of the Year points here…and without even looking at a rolling pin!

The trick is to go big and go ugly.  What you’re making is generally referred to as a drop biscuit in the recipe books, but once you get this downpat, you won’t need a recipe or a book.  Ugly biscuits are like poetry;  you find a rhythm and a harmony of ingredients, then watch the magic happen.

Here’s how I make ugly biscuits:

I like a hot oven.  Preheat to 450.  In a bowl, put 2 hefty cups of all-purpose flour, a big tablespoon of baking powder, and around a teaspoon of salt.  Add two-three tablespoons of Crisco (yes, the white stuff in the tub).  Use a pastry tool or a fork to cut in the Crisco.  It should resemble coarse meal.  Go ahead, get your hands in there and feel it.  It should be thick, but not greasy.  Add a cup of milk and stir.  You have to do this by feel.  You might need a little more milk.  Your goal is gloppy and elastic.  Plop big heaping spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  They pile up like flaxen mountain ranges.  You’ve got 10 solid minutes in the oven before you need to start worrying about burning the biscuits.  Exact timing depends on how golden you want these glorious morsels to be.

The addition of garlic powder and shredded cheddar transforms these beauties into a quick, savory dinner biscuit if you’re not in the mood for breakfast fare.

So, treat your loved ones to some ugly biscuits.  They’re quick, relatively simple to make, and will warm both hearts and tummies.


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