Monday, January 24, 2011

Flying biscuits

It's time, yet again, for Valerie's Adventures in Cooking!

Today's recipe is for a thing I like to call "Flying biscuits." That is, biscuits made on the fly. Here's how you do it.

You don't actually need to read this, since the required quantities are in the recipe, but go ahead if you're so inclined.
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 stick shortening
  • a good bit more flour than butter and shortening combined
  • a smallish palmful of salt
  • another smallish palmful of baking soda
  • no egg
  • water
  • water
  • more flour
Get home from work and decide you'd really like to eat some biscuits with cheese for dinner. Search through all your recipes, but fail to find one for biscuits. Spend a moment thinking how odd this is, since biscuits are one of your favorite things to eat that can be easily made at home, but then remember that you used to make biscuits so often that you could do it without a recipe. Decide, instead of wasting time searching the Internet for a recipe, to channel your past self and do without one.

Start with shortening and butter, one half-stick each. For the purposes of this recipe, they shall henceforth be known collectively as "shortening." My apologies to the butter, which may feel slighted by this. Most biscuit recipes recommend that you slice these ingredients into the flour, but since you are so excited about finally being able to use them after they've been sitting around since Thanksgiving, you may forget this and dump them, intact, into the bowl. Follow this with flour, in a significantly larger volume than the shortening. Add salt--a teaspoon, measured in the palm of your hand. Begin to cut the flour into the shortening when you remember that biscuits need baking soda to rise. While you are getting the baking soda, wonder whether you are supposed to add an egg, but decide you are not. Toss in some baking soda in about the same amount as the salt and mix thoroughly.

Add water. Mix. Add a little more water. Mix. Add too much water, which you only realize when your biscuit dough becomes a gloopy mass. A good rule of thumb when deciding how much water to add to a recipe is to draw on your extensive vocabulary and recall whether the pre-cooked version of your product is called "batter" or "dough." Gloopy masses are good for "batters," but a little more viscosity is required for "dough." Dump in the rest of the flour and mix with your hands until the dough clumps together in a soggy ball.

At this point, remember to preheat the oven. Almost everything bakes at 350 degrees, so you can be reasonably certain that that will be an acceptable temperature for your biscuits.

Most of the time, biscuits are supposed to be rolled out and cut into circles. Your time is more precious than that, so feel free to grab slightly-less-than-biscuit-sized chunks from the dough ball and splat them onto the baking sheet. Pat them down into shapes that somewhat resemble biscuits.

Because you began the preheating process approximately 40 seconds before being ready to bake your biscuits, the oven is only going to be at 110 degrees. While you're waiting for it to pass through the next 240 degrees, you may clean up your mess! At 285 degrees, decide the oven is hot enough, and slide that pan into it! Whoops! First, I guess you should remove the two partially eaten pizzas that your housemate apparently decided to store in the oven.

How long do biscuits bake, anyway? Well, surely long enough for you to take a quick shower while you're waiting for them to finish. Shower away, and get out just in time to hear the oven beep to let you know it has reached temp. Clearly your biscuits are not finished yet.

Because you are starving to death, take your biscuits out of the oven every 5 minutes to see if they are done and eat pieces out of them. After 20 minutes of this, declare them officially done and eat them. Next time, use more salt.


Anonymous said...

Oh i have lots to say.. but as I am already at the <6 hr mark for sleep tonight.. I will abbreviate my comment to this:
how do you manage taking such short showers???

Valerie said...

LOL, the secret is my short attention span!