Biscuits are the prototypical comfort food. Smothered with rich gravy, served alongside classic Southern cuisine, and packed with butter, biscuits are undeniably delicious. Unfortunately, they are highly fattening, typically made from white flour, and generally unhealthy.
My husband is from the Midwest and drools at the mention of a biscuit. Every Saturday at the Portland Farmers Market, he endures a 30-minute line (at a minimum) for a biscuit sandwich from a local business, Pine State Biscuits. With this in mind, I set out to develop a healthier yet equally satisfying biscuit.
After multiple trials, I ended up reducing the fat and salt, and substituting whole wheat flour pastry flour in place of traditional all-purpose. The resulting biscuits hit the spot for my husband and were a general crowd pleaser at this years Thanksgiving dinner. From my perspective, the biscuits were perfectly crumbly, relatively nutritious, and easy to prepare. This is a winning combination in my books.
Drop Biscuits (yields 12 biscuits)
2 cups flour (preferably whole wheat pastry flour, but all purpose flour can be substituted for a more traditional biscuit)
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 TB vegetable shortening
2 TB butter
1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
4 tsp mixed dried herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme and/or oregano), optional
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix together all of the dry ingredients, including the optional (but highly recommended) spices. Cut in the butter and shortening until crumbles of dough form. This works much better if the butter and shortening are chilled prior to use. Add the milk and stir until combined.
Grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray or butter, or line the sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Scoop biscuits onto the sheet using a large spoon, ice cream scoop, or cookie scoop. Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.
The biscuits are a perfect accompaniment to soups and stews, a pleasant addition to brunch, or a light breakfast. The addition of herbs takes the biscuits outside of the realm of biscuits and gravy, and allows the biscuits to stand alone without the need for sauces or butter. Use whatever combination of herbs you prefer or that complement the meal. I especially love the combination of sage and rosemary.
Enjoy the biscuits, the easy preparation, and the compliments you will receive!