This week marks the third anniversary of Cooking is My Sport. My blog baby is three years old, guys.
Should I feel like a proud mom? Cause I kinda do.
I still remember when CIMS was first ‘borned’. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to format my posts, write out the recipes, take the pictures.
It was actually kind of a hot mess.
Kinda like my first major solo effort at baking.
Let me just give a useful piece of advice upfront for any of my followers who are excellent cooks, but not so excellent bakers: start with something easy. Something that doesn’t require too much know how or technique. Something you’d have to try REALLY hard to mess up.
Don’t be like me. Don’t make your first baking experiment biscuits.
Chances are, you’re going to mess them up. Like I did.
I didn’t realize that a good biscuit dough still has visible chunks of butter it. I didn’t know that it wasn’t like bread dough and therefore should NOT be kneaded. I didn’t know that finding a warm place to let the dough proof did NOT count as setting it on top of the preheated oven–which made the bottoms of the biscuits start baking before I even placed them in the oven.
I was completely clueless guys. It wasn’t pretty. Don’t be like me. There are plenty of novice baker recipes on this blog I can recommend for you to try if you’re just trying to get your feet wet.
But for those of you who are a little more wet behind the ears with baking, then I really do think you ought to pay attention. Cause you really do want to make these. Trust me.
The recipe for my grandmother’s angel biscuits was actually the first recipe I posted on the blog. I decided to start with that one for a number of reasons: first being it’s a family recipe and therefore very close to my heart. Second, it was around the time that I was learning from my mistakes & getting pretty good at making them. And third: they’re some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had.
As the blog’s birthday came around, I was considering what recipe I would make to celebrate it. Cake was obviously something I considered, but if you’ve been following along lately you’ll know that I’ve done a few over-the-top cakes over the past few months already. I’m kinda over cake (at least for now) I felt I should try and do… something else. That something else is a flashback post where I remade the recipe for my grandma’s angel biscuits, and also did some tweaking to the language of the initial recipe that better reflects the lessons I’ve learned from trial and error making them.
I’ve made these biscuits for breakfast where we ate them smothered in sausage gravy, or schmeared with butter/jelly or butter drizzled with syrup. I’ve made them for dinners where I fried chicken cutlets and had myself a homemade chicken biscuit that can more hold its own against anything Chick-fil-A cranks out. I’ve made them for holidays where we eat them on the side with our epic feasts. And, I’ve also made them for no other reason at all than just because I felt like having one (or two.) The leftovers, if you have any, also refrigerate very well. Whenever you want to reheat one, you can either slice it in half and reheat in the toaster, or cover with a damppaper towel and microwave for about 20-25 seconds. It’ll taste just as tender and flaky. Promise.
My Grandma's Angel Biscuits
Recipe by Jess@CookingIsMySport.com
- 1 package of regular or quick acting active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup shortening (I put mine in the freezer overnight to make it as cold as possible)
- 5 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tsp divided
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk
Grease 2 to 3 round cake pans (one or two half sheet pans will work as well)
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Sprinkle the one tsp of sugar over the yeast. Let it sit for ten minutes. (If the yeast does not foam with small bubbles on top after 10 minutes, the water was probably either too hot too cold. Think ‘baby bottle warm’: this is what you want.)
Cut shortening into pre-sifted dry ingredients with a pastry blender, with 2 forks OR (my personal preference) by running the shortening over a box grater in 4 qt. bowl until mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Stir in buttermilk & yeast mixture until dough leaves side of bowl. (The dough is going to be VERY sticky and soft. To avoid a mess, rub extra flour on your hands, or on a rubber spatula when mixing.)
Turn dough onto generously floured surface. Gently roll in flour to coat, shape into a ball. Knead lightly 25 to 30 times, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. (This is where it gets a little tricky. I reallyreallyREALLY want to emphasize the important of the word GENTLY here. My own past missteps have finally made me realize that when handling biscuit dough, the less you actually ‘handle’ it, the better. Avoid even clenching your palms around the dough. I use my fingertips to pat. Your palms carry heat, and heat will melt those marvelous shortening chunks that create tender, flaky biscuits.)
Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2 inch round cutter. (You can also use a knife or bench scraper to cut them into squares) Place about 1 inch apart in cake pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in preheated oven until the biscuits have doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Heat the oven to 400°. Remove plastic wrap from pans, then place them back into oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Spread tops with butter.