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Can you imagine after living “down south” for many years, moving to Australia where biscuits are cookies? “Oh, you mean scones,” they say. And scones in Australia is pronounced scons.
I said it wrong once at a party and, “You say it like an aMERican,” someone said and everyone else nodded. It’s been scons ever since. Biscuits are not scones. They might be scone-ish but they are definitely not scones.
Biscuits are flakey, fluffy, high, light and marvelous to eat, especially at breakfast. After the post about John eating all my tarts, I’m almost embarrassed to tell about the biscuits.
When I get homesick for my children and grandchildren, I cook something that reminds me of home, whether that’s Knoxville, Tennessee where I lived for a long time or back in Maine where I grew up or Orlando, Florida where I migrated from. Just the taste of a blueberry pie puts me back at my mother’s dinner table in an instant, with memories flooding back about how I learned to rake wild blueberries when I was about 8 then went home and watched my mother make a pie from them.
The other day I’d had a long chat with my son who’s in Atlanta after receiving photos of my two youngest grandchildren. After hanging up the phone I was feeling a bit like Miss Crankypants and decided I needed to get in the kitchen for some Americanization. I wanted a sausage biscuit.
American sausage isn’t available down under either but thankfully it’s really easy to make from ground pork and pantry items I always have on hand. I mixed that up and rolled it into logs and froze 3 logs and put one in the fridge.
Just as I got all my biscuit ingredients out, John walked in and asked what I was making. “Sausage and biscuits,” I said. He rolled his eyes with that look that says, “she’s homesick,” and gave me a cuddle and off he went back upstairs to work. He doesn’t get as excited as I do about cooking memory food. To be honest, I’m not sure he has any memory food.
I sifted and mixed and put the biscuit mix on the silicone mat and patted them out. Rather than use a biscuit cutter, I just used a big knife and made them square. I cut straight down – no sideways back and forth because that action limits how the biscuits can rise and then I popped them in a hot oven in the top third of the oven – that’s where it’s hottest.
As the sausage patties were frying and the biscuits were baking, imagine the wonderful aroma coming out of my kitchen. That was when I heard a little voice from upstairs yell, “That smells really good, dear!” When I peeked in the oven, the biscuits were tall, fluffy, flakey, buttery and gorgeous.
I dashed to get some photos before pulling apart the biscuits and sliding in a juicy sausage patty and yelled, “John, want a biscuit?” He did. I ate 1 1/2 and shared my other half with Charlie. John ate the rest and then cleaned up all the leftover biscuits.
“These are NOT scones, you’re right. More butter, more salt, less sugar and they are wonderful. Can we have them again soon?” There you have it. My husband who is Aussie to his underpants wanted more biscuits with sausage.
Next time I’m making biscuits with bacon, egg and cheese. You Americans know the ones I’m talking about. No such thing even at McDonald’s here but they’ll be in my kitchen very soon.
This biscuit recipe is foolproof. I wouldn’t tell you if it weren’t so. If you follow these directions, your biscuits will be as beautiful as the ones in these photos. I promise. Seriously, you can’t screw ’em up. It’s a no-fail recipe for homemade biscuits.
- 2 cups plain flour - sifted
- 3½ tsp baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 113 grams butter (1/2 cup) cold butter cut into ½ inch cubes
- ⅔ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 230C/450F
- Place dry ingredients in a food processor and whiz to combine.
- Add butter and pulse til the butter looks like peas.
- Dump into a mixing bowl and add the milk and honey and stir until it comes together.
- Place on a lightly floured surface (I use a silicone mat because it's easy to clean) and knead several times to work the gluten
- Then pat the dough with your fingers to about ¾ inch high. You can go lower and get more biscuits but they won't be as high.
- You can cut them with a biscuit cutter, a tin can or a glass but don't use a seesaw approach as that will reduce the rise.
- If you want soft edges like I do, place them about an inch apart on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
- I used a knife and cut them square and had no leftovers.
- You may brush the tops with melted butter or milk before baking but I always brush with butter right after they come out of the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- I like to let them rest for about twenty minutes before baking, but, seriously, I'm usually so hungry by this point that I just toss them in the oven once the oven is hot enough.. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until they are done to your liking.
As a funny aside. I go to a local cooking demonstration every Friday morning at a cooking shop not far from home. My friend Iris who owns the shop is in England learning more cake decorating and chocolate making but her staff keeps everything humming along in her absence. This week one of her American employees made Southern Biscuits. Now this is the same woman who when I asked where she moved from she said, “North Carolina, it’s a state in the United States in the south.”
Everyone roared because she hadn’t realized that I have an American accent. Then she said, “I went to the University of Tennessee for my degree in food science.” To which I replied, “Go Vols!” She still didn’t get it and looked at me and said, “Have you visited Tennessee?”
Laughter again. I told her I WAS a Vol a million years before she was born. She said she never picked up my American accent. Now we had loud guffawing because I sound VERY American to everyone else.
Anyway, here are the biscuits she made. They were flat and tasted like a mouthful of flour. Don’t make her recipe. 🙂 BUT her tomato and chilli jam was to die for. Coming up soon!