Bypass boxed mixes for self-rising cream biscuits

Bypassing box-made biscuits is the premise of this week’s food-section feature.

I had to chuckle at the writer’s revelation that making biscuits from a box is hardly more involved than making them from scratch. That’s because my mom recently announced that she hardly bought Bisquick anymore when it’s so easy to make biscuits from the individual components of that American standby. Such confidence after approximately 50 years of cooking!

I reckon I haven’t bought a box of Bisquick in about 15 years, but I also can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve made biscuits since wielding the cutter under my mom’s watchful eye. Even worse than buying Bisquick, my husband likes to keep refrigerated canisters of biscuit dough on hand for quick pigs-in-blankets. And that guilty pleasure dates to before we had kids!

There really isn’t any reason for any of this processed-food reliance. But occasionally, a convenience product really proves its worth. Take, for example, this recipe from Tribune New Service, originally published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. As TNS recipe testers confirm, the South is awash in to-die-for biscuits, all made from scratch, many calling for numerous ingredients and steps in the process.

But why endure so much futzing when just two ingredients, in precise proportions, bake up with heavenly results? White Lily self-rising flour and heavy cream are all that’s needed to produce Jolene Black’s Cream Biscuits, so remarkable that it was republished in the Times-Picayune’s 2015 best-of recipe anthology, titled “Cooking Up a Storm.”

Don’t even think about using another brand of flour, in lieu of White Lily, if you’re serious about making a biscuit that would live up to that name in the South. If you can’t find it at your local grocer, consider ordering it online.

Tribune News Service photo

Jolene Black’s Cream Biscuits

2 1/2 cups White Lily self-rising flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Put the flour in a medium mixing bowl and add the cream. Stir until a soft, sticky ball forms. (Dough will seem wet at first.) On a very lightly floured surface, knead lightly with well-floured hands about 3 times, just until dough comes together.

Pat dough to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter. Bake on prepared baking sheet in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until biscuits are golden-brown.

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.

Recipe from “Cooking Up a Storm — 10th Anniversary: Recipes Lost and Found From the Times-Picayune of New Orleans,” edited by Judy Walker and Marcelle Bienvenu (Chronicle Books).

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