A new twist on biscuits

Ever add egg to your dough?

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When I was a student at Atlantic Christian College, I went to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, with a group of students and teachers involved with the Undergraduate Fellows program.

I got up very early on the morning we left Wilson, but my mama was up even earlier making sausage biscuits for everyone going on the trip.

Daddy fried the sausage patties, and Mama made her homemade buttermilk biscuits.

That was in 1982, but I still remember those delicious biscuits and can see them packed in a box by my thoughtful mama, who not only wanted to send me off with a homemade breakfast, but decided to treat my friends as well.

Every now and then, I start craving those sausage biscuits — or just one of Mama’s biscuits.

My mama’s biscuit recipe is made with very basic ingredients: self-rising flour, shortening, buttermilk.

She didn’t need a recipe card to remind her how to mix the ingredients, knead the dough and flatten it out to cut the biscuits we would eat with chicken and gravy, country ham or homemade blackberry jelly.

I’ve made her recipe many times. I’ve tried others as well, including biscuits made with butter instead of shortening.

But I had never baked biscuits made with egg as an ingredient until last month. In fact, I didn’t know anyone made biscuits with eggs.

I started looking online at other biscuit recipes and found a number that incorporated egg in the dough, including this one from King Arthur. I was eager to try this and decided to make sausage biscuits for breakfast on a recent Saturday.

The recipe is different from my basic biscuit recipe in several other ways as well. It calls for both butter and shortening, a little sugar and milk instead of buttermilk. That’s a good thing because there have been many times I’ve wanted to make biscuits, but I didn’t have buttermilk. And I’m not a fan of the vinegar-in-milk trick as a substitute.

The recipe suggests forming the dough into a square and cutting square biscuits, but I wanted round ones to fit my sausage patties. I made my biscuit dough, patted it out with my hands and cut them, just like Mama taught me. I added a little flour to make the dough more manageable.

I put the biscuits on a baking sheet, making sure they touched. I’ve always heard that helps them rise.

When I glanced at the recipe to check the cooking instructions, I noticed I was supposed to put the dough in the freezer for an hour before rolling it out. Too late for that! I went ahead and baked my biscuits.

The results were definitely a hit! The biscuits were flaky and tender in the middle with a nice crust on the outside.

My family enjoyed them as well. Granddaughter Sora did tell me she preferred the canned biscuits I often bake for her, but a few days later, when I baked the homemade biscuits again, she gobbled them down. And when she was at my house this past weekend, she asked if I would make them again!

For those of you who cook for children, you know this is an absolute endorsement!

lisa@wilsontimes.com | 265-7810

Biscuits for Breakfast

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

212 teaspoons baking powder

14 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, unsalted

14 cup (4 tablespoons) cold shortening (mine was room temperature)

1 large egg

12 cup milk, cream, or half and half (I used skim milk)

Mix together the dry ingredients. With two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter and shortening in until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

Add the liquid all at once, mixing quickly and gently for about 20 seconds until you have a soft dough.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it a couple of times to bring it together. With the help of a dough scraper, shape the dough into a 6X6-inch square, about ¾ -inch thick. Run a rolling pin over the top once to even it out. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap it, and set it on a work surface. It’ll be very stiff, but still soft enough to cut with a sharp knife, sharpened dough scraper or rolling cutter (pizza cutter). Cut the dough into nine 2” squares, and place the squares on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits for 16 minutes, or until they’re a light, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Store, well-wrapped, on the counter for 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.

King Arthur Flour
* I made a few changes to this recipe. I used about a teaspoon of sugar instead of a tablespoon and did not put the dough in the freezer before rolling it out. While kneading, I made sure to fold the dough several times to make flaky layers. I also used my hands to pat out the dough and cut round biscuits. I also grated my butter the first time I made the biscuits. It worked great!