Marina’s BiscuitsPosted: December 17, 2014
For as long as I can remember, my mom’s biscuits have been a weekend family staple. I don’t care much for most breakfast foods. I’ve never eaten eggs willingly….I do not understand the point of grits, nor do I find joy in a bowl of oatmeal.
But, there is one glorious exception to this rule: Marina’s biscuits. I started making them in college, much to the delight of my roommates…and, it’s become a Saturday tradition at our house now to have a big breakfast, complete with biscuits fresh from the oven. So…even though it will be somewhat embarrassing to admit how easy they are to make, I thought I’d share the magic. Merry Christmas!
Here is your cast of characters:
I don’t typically measure, but I did for the purpose of sharing this recipe. This will make enough biscuits for 2-6 people, depending on how ravenous you are.
- 2 cups Martha White self-rising flour (if you can’t find this flour, don’t bother with this recipe…trust me)
- 1 cup buttermilk (let’s pretend that’s buttermilk and not skim milk that I had to borrow from my neighbor)
- 1/4 cup crisco (I use butter flavor, because…C’MON)
- Butter (have I mentioned that these biscuits are buttery?)
Preheat your oven to 480 degrees. I know, I know…that seems excessive, but that’s what will make the magic happen.
Dump your crisco into the flour, and use your hands to cut it in.
You want it to be well mixed throughout the flour, so you may determine that you need more or less crisco. It should form little pebbles here and there, but some of the flour should remain powdery…Does that even make sense?
Slowly pour the milk in, while folding it into the flour mixture with your hand. I’d be doing that here, but John wouldn’t get off the couch to take this picture for me.
I guess this is the part that will take some trial and error to figure out. You want the dough to be moist, without it becoming too wet. If it seems too wet, feel free to add more flour. You also want to avoid overly mixing it, or your biscuits will turn out more dense and less fluffy. I’ve found, through the years, that if you’re questioning whether or not you’ve mixed it enough you’ve probably mixed it the perfect amount. Leave it alone!
At this point, you will have the equivalent of 1-2 biscuits stuck to your hands. If you’re my mom, you’ll proceed to touch everything in the kitchen with those hands in the next 30 seconds. It’s some sort of superpower that she possesses. There will be biscuit dough on the sink faucet, the refrigerator door, the milk jug, the utensil drawer handle….it’s a strange phenomenon.
I recommend washing your hands, but: to each their own.
Two things to do before moving on: take some crisco and grease the bottom of a cast iron skillet, and get about 1/2 cup flour in a little bowl. (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet
ask Santa for one for Christmas you can use a cookie sheet.)
Now it’s time to do what Marina refers to as “patting out the biscuits”.
- Get some flour in your (clean and dough-free) hands.
- Pinch off some dough, it’s really your preference on how big you want to make each biscuit. (Although, these are traditionally called “cat head” biscuits..I think because they are meant to be as big as a cat’s head. Isn’t THAT appetizing?)
- Gently roll it into a ball, but do not overwork it. It’s fine to have some bits of crisco that still aren’t mixed in, etc.
- Place the biscuit gently in the skillet. I prefer to start in the middle and then fan out from there.
- Do not smush it flat, but do gently “pat” it a little to flatten the top.
- Between forming each biscuit, re-coat your hands with flour to avoid the dough from sticking.
- Place a sliver of butter on top of each one before baking. This will give them a golden, crunchy top.
(butter not shown here, but don’t forget it!)
Now, place that skillet on the medium rack of your oven, and go kiss some baby toes if you’re lucky enough to have some nearby.
Baking time is the cook’s preference. I prefer my biscuits to juuuuust be beginning to brown on top and to be super light and fluffy on the inside. This usually takes about 20 minutes. My dad and I disagree about cooking times and the level of “doneness” that defines a perfect pan of biscuits. To each their own, I suppose. But, if you’re ever at my house on a Saturday morning, this is what we’ll have:
Be sure to eat them while they’re hot! Bonus points for spreading Muscadine jelly on them beforehand…