Daddy’s biscuits are not the prettiest (but they could look more like regular biscuits, and I’ll explain how later; Daddy is all about taste and speed). The biscuits he makes have an geometrical shape, maybe a rhombus or something like that, but definitely not circular because Daddy doesn’t care about biscuit appearances. (Though, he does however, care about his own physical appearance; another story for another day). Daddy thinks it’s faster and easier to cram those biscuits together and mash them down until they are all touching like a pie. ??? I don’t understand why…
No matter how bad they look, they are darn good, and I’ve begged my Daddy to show me how to make them.
It was way before 7:00 on a Sunday morning and on Mother’s Day, when Daddy showed up with Momma. James grunted when the doorbell rang. He’s not a morning person like us. So I reassured him that by no means was he going to be asked to get out of bed. I would take care of everything, and I would cook quietly with Daddy. For any of you that know us, that was a lie. Daddy laughs like a hyena and talks at the top of his lungs all the time, and Momma cannot hear so she shouts, too.
The plan was to make biscuits and eat a frittata and drink a few mimosas on the porch with Momma and Daddy, and that was perfect because I had them both in my kitchen to cook and eat and visit. Good times…
For years, I’ve been unsuccessful with our family biscuit recipes. I’ve tried to follow the recipe many times, but I never could get them quite like Daddy’s. Many years ago, it was Grandma Book’s biscuits that I never could seem to get just right even though I followed her instructions to the letter. I was so sad because it was important for me to make good biscuits. I needed to carry on the Book family tradition of mopping up the plate with syrup and biscuits. This biscuit mopping thing is a terrible thing to do after each meal by the way. The Book family didn’t adhere to my rules of eating. Sugar, butter, white flour and sour cream was something that Grandma Book had no problem eating every evening.
This is how Grandma Book’s biscuit mopping works: First, eat everything on your plate, don’t even leave a grain of rice. Second, pour a lot of syrup in the plate, that dark cane syrup out of the can was best, but any syrup would do. Finally, use your fresh, hot biscuit to mop up every drop, leaving your plate clean and ready for the dish pan. The only problem with this tradition is that when done every night, you will pack on the pounds. So, I recommend doing this only occasionally.
So, back to the Mother’s Day breakfast: the plan was that Daddy would start the biscuits while I whipped up a frittata. He was going to tell me the measurements and show me how it was done while I chopped up my frittata ingredients. As far as I got with my chopping were the onions because out of the corner of my eye, I saw Daddy scooping up a huge heaping soup-spoonful of butter, plop into the flour as he said, “Well, that’s one tablespoon.” I asked, “Is that your idea of a tablespoon?” “Yes”, he said, “It’s a heaping spoonful”.
Well, that was the first problem I discovered with following his recipes: a tablespoon is not really a tablespoon. After I re-measured his two tablespoons of butter, I found that the butter was actually five tablespoons! I found out the sour cream measurements had the same inflated problem. Daddy’s reply to this problem, “Well, I really don’t follow recipes exactly.” I now realize Grandma Book must have had the same philosophy. I think incorrect measuring and not using a recipe must be a Cajun habit. A habit that gives me fits when trying to recreate my family recipes!
I had to stop making the frittata and follow Daddy around the kitchen with measuring cups and spoons. Here’s how it went:
We remeasured everything and I wrote down the ingredients. We mixed it all in a large bowl. This is the sticky part:
This really buttery pan was another detail left off of Daddy’s original recipe:
And, yet another detail he left out was how he added an extra 1/2 cup of flour around the sticky dough to pat it into a ball that looked like this:
He rubbed his hands in butter so the dough wouldn’t stick to them, and then he pinched off small handfulls of dough and placed them in the pan:
I told you earlier I had my ideas of how to make them look pretty, but I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t say for sure, but I think if you put them further apart and made them thick and round, they would cook up nice and circular just like regular biscuits. It would take more time, of course, and Daddy wouldn’t like that.
If you want to recreate Daddy’s biscuits, here’s what you need to start with:
I hope I’ve made Daddy’s biscuit recipe more clearer for you than he made them for me. Good Luck!
- 2 cups self-rising flour, another ½ cup for dusting the batter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, more to butter the pan (who knows this measurement...look at the picture)
- 5 tablespoons sour cream
- ¾ cups buttermilk
- Add flour to a large bowl
- Fork in the butter until it looks crumbly
- Add the sour cream the same way, mashing it into the mixture
- Pour in the buttermilk, stirring until you have a gooey ball of mixture
- Add a ½ cup flour around the edges of the mixture to pat around until you get a non-sticky ball of dough. Pat the flour in until your hands will not stick to it.
- Pinch off balls of dough about the size of a large egg.
- Place them in the pan about an inch apart. If you want thicker biscuits, put them closer and farther apart for thinner biscuits.
- Cook them for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.