Old-Timey Biscuits for a Gray Spring Day

Today the sky is Puritan gray, as gray as a bleak day in November. At the little house in the big woods, there is still snow in the front yard. Not much, but it is there.

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I am itching for warmer weather, to pick up sticks in the yard, to start removing leaves from my flower beds, to plant some pansies, one of my favorite flowers. How I love their little faces. There are, of course, many chores I could be doing inside, cleaning and organizing, but I don’t want to do any of them. The spring bug has bitten me, even though it doesn’t seem very much like spring in central Maine.

I know. This is Maine. This is March. I have the doldrums. I get them every year at about this time, and I am not alone. As I have mentioned in previous posts, March is not very popular in Maine, and many people get the doldrums during thisΒ  month. I wouldn’t categorize the doldrums as a full-blown depression but rather, a restlessness, an impatience that can make a person a little cranky.

But April, sweet April—not the cruelest month at all, not by a long shot—is just around the corner. In Maine, April is the month when the trees begun to bud and the flowers show their lovely green foliage. April is the month where the water runs along the side of the road, singing its spring song, and in the little swamp up from us, the peepers add their enchanting trill.

I’ve written this before, and I’m writing it again: Spring and rebirth are an old story that never gets old. Each year, I greet it with a beginner’s mind, so very grateful to be here for yet another spring.

In the meantime, we have March, seven more days of it. What to do? What to do? Why, make biscuits and turkey soup. Years back, I shared this biscuit recipe, but that was many posts ago, and I thought it was time to share it again. It is an old-timey recipe given to me by my mother, and it calls for heaping teaspoons of baking powder and a cup of milk, strong. Goodness, my mother could make biscuits. I’ve never tasted any that were better. Mine aren’t bad,Β  but they can’t compete with hers.

For a New Englander, any time is biscuit time, but they are especially good on what we call “raw” days, when the weather is gray and bone-chilling and all you can do is think about the darling buds of May. In fact, you’d settle for the swelling buds of April.

Serve homemade soup along with the biscuits, and you have what might be called a March consolation.

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Old-Timey Biscuits (Rochelle’s Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons of shortening
  • 1 cup of milk, strong (Pour the milk until it comes just a bit above the one-cup mark.)

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir well.
  2. With a fork or a pastry blender, cut in the four tablespoons of shortening until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add the milk. The mixture will be very runny. (When it comes to biscuits, the softer the dough, the better.) Let it rest a few minutes until the baking powder kicks in to firm-up the dough.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a floured board or counter. With floured hands, pat it a few times until you have the desired thickness.
  5. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out the biscuits and put them in an ungreased 8×8 pan. Note: I like my biscuits squished together so that they come out very soft. If you like crispier biscuits, put them on a cookie sheet and leave space around them.
  6. Dab tops with butter.
  7. Bake them in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  8. Serve ’em hot with plenty of butter. That is how they are best.
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16 thoughts on “Old-Timey Biscuits for a Gray Spring Day”

    1. Yes, biscuits are delicious with butter. I have never heard of a milk and sausage gravy. Is it Southern? Sounds very tasty.

      1. Jason, in Maine, biscuits and gravy are not common at all. I checked with my husband, and he concurred. Probably you can get them somewhere in Maine, but we don’t know where, and we have never eaten them. Or heard of anyone eating them. Regional differences πŸ˜‰

  1. Your ‘biscuits’ are our scones and our biscuits are your ‘cookies’. πŸ™‚ I love scones with slabs of cold butter on them. Thanks for the recipe. I know US measurements are different from ours, e.g. your standard tablespoon is 15 ml. whereas ours is 20 ml. so I would have to do the conversion if I use this recipe.

    1. Biscuits are indeed similar to scones, and cookies are cookies πŸ˜‰ Sorry about the conversion issues. When it comes to such things, I am not very good and therefore stick to U.S. measurements.

  2. I have never heard the use of “strong,” in a recipe. Wonderful. I guess you can’t have a heaping cup of milk! Soup with anything is the best antidote to raw March weather. And it’s still raw out there.

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