Every time I plan a trip home to Pennsylvania, my Mom asks me “Is there anything special you’d like me to cook?”
I want something I don’t make in California, so my two usual suspects are twice-baked potatoes (I don’t cook spuds as often as I should) and homemade biscuits. Fresh, warm-out-of-the-oven biscuits, mmm….
The starches in my kitchen usually consist of some form of rice or noodles (my favorites are those salty yakisoba kind sold in block form at the grocery store), so we don’t ever have biscuits with dinner. When I go home, that’s what I want. And my Mom makes the best.
She’s been making the same biscuit recipe since I can remember, and it never gets old. The recipe itself is from her Runner’s World Natural Foods Cookbook, circa the 1980s. We do like our foods natural in my family (which is why we bake everything from itch) so these biscuits have become a mainstay. Over the years, my Mom has made some tweaks, like adding grated cheese, and brushing half-and-half over the top to make the biscuits glow. Trust me—adding more dairy is always a good thing.
These biscuits are just perfect right out of the oven with a dab of butter, but they’re also good the day after, if there are any left. My last trip home, I had a mini fried egg sandwich with a leftover biscuit that I browned briefly in the toaster. Other than having to use tongs (plastic, don’t worry) to get the little biscuit out from the depths of the hot toaster, it was great. So are fried egg sandwiches. It’s not a weekend without a messy fried egg sandwich with some cheese, and maybe some bacon, or prosciutto, or…. Anyway.
So here is my Mom’s years-tweaked biscuits recipe. Save some for me!
Mom’s Unforgettable Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
2 T sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional, but a must, in my opinion)
1 T honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk
2 T half-and-half
Combine all dry ingredients and toss well. Add sesame seeds and grated cheese. Mix in oil, milk and honey and stir until dough clings together. Knead gently on a floured surface (10-12 strokes). Roll or pat dough to approximately 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter and brush tops of biscuits with half-and-half. Bake on un-greased baking sheet (or Silpat) at 450 degrees for approximately 12 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.