When in doubt, look to the 1950’s.

Last night’s dinner was leftover split pea soup. I needed to round it out with something and I knew some sort of bread was the answer.  We’ve already had sourdough baguette a few days this week, including with the first round of split pea soup, so something else was called for.  I’d spent the afternoon making and canning applesauce,  I didn’t feel like running out and grabbing something, I didn’t feel like putting effort into making something, I wanted something quick, easy and instantly gratifying.  What I really wanted was some Bisquick drop biscuits, but I was out of Bisquick.  Some quick research showed me that even if I whipped up a homemade style Bisquick, you are still required to cut the fat into the dry ingredients and that’s exactly what I wanted to avoid.  If I felt like doing that, I’d make biscuits already.

I reached for my 1956  Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book.  I felt for sure if any of the cookbooks on my shelf had a quick & easy drop biscuit recipe, it would be that one.   It’s chock full of tips on how to be a good housewife including reminders to be pleasant and have something interesting to relay to the family at dinner, so it seemed it would come through with a recipe that required little effort, because it also is full of reminders that the lady of the house should also take time for herself.  It did not disappoint.

The recipe says to sift together your dry ingredients, then pour all your liquids in at once, stir until the dough is a ball and there you go.  It seemed too easy to be true.  It wasn’t. It really was that simple.  As you stir, the dough becomes a ball.  Really.  And they were good.

How stinking happy am I that I found a quick & easy biscuit recipe that’s not Bisquick?  Admittedly, I have a soft spot for the mix seeing how it was my Granny’s secret recipe for just about anything, as long as the recipe was printed on the box.  It’s not whole grain and I’ve yet to find another baking mix that is as versatile as Bisquick that is whole grain (although I’ve been known to throw some wheat germ into pancakes made with it, just to feel like I’m healthing it up), but otherwise, it is one of two processed foods I tend to make room for in my pantry (the other being Kraft Mac & Cheese).

Because of my thing about using more whole grain flours when I bake and my current experimentation with spelt flour, I subbed a cup of that for all purpose flour.  I also threw in some fresh herbs – parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano- which I chopped finely and threw in with my dry ingredients.  You can roll them out or drop them, as I did.  If you can turn on an oven, you can make these.  They are that easy.

Stir and Roll Biscuits 
(From the Betty Crocker 1956 Picture Cook Book)

Sift (or whisk) together:
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Pour into measuring cup (but don’t stir together):
1/3 cup cooking (salad) oil
2/3 cup milk

Then pour all at once into the flour.
Stir with a fork until mixture cleans sides of bowl and rounds up into a ball.  
For rolled or patted biscuits, smooth by kneading about ten times without additional flour.  With the dough on waxed paper, press out 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick with hands or roll out.  Cut with unfloured biscuit cutter.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake until golden brown.

For drop biscuits, skip the kneading and drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 475 for 10-12 minutes.

Buttermilk version:
Reduce baking powder to 2 tsp and add 1/4 tsp. baking soda.
Use 2/3 cup buttermilk in place of sweet milk.
Makes 16 biscuits.

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