Biscuits (and Gravy)

Back in Miss Coldwell’s Home Economics class, we learned to add cream of tartar to the dry ingredients – I don’t know what it does, but no one has ever complained about my biscuits. I like to add a little cinnamon – you don’t really taste it, but they brown up prettier with it. Don’t bother trying to find the biscuit cutter. If you want round biscuits, use an old tuna can with both ends cut out (but who wants to do all that cutting, scraping together the bits, and doing it all over again, when you can just make square biscuits?).
Jo Anne’s Best Biscuits
2 c. flour, sifted with…
3 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbps. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cut in:
4-5 Tbsp. butter and/or shortening
Make a well in the center and add about 1/2 c milk or buttermilk or milk with a little plain yogurt (this is a good way to get rid of the dab at the bottom of the big carton).
Toss the milk into the crumbles until they come together into a ball. Add a little more milk to bring in the rest of the crumbles (you’ll end up using 2/3 to 3/4 c. liquid). Do not over-mix. When all ingredients are moistened, use your fingers to press together into a firm enough ball to turn out onto a floured surface. Barely knead (no more than 12 strokes) enough flour into the dough to make it workable, then roll out to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness. Pat the edges into the dough to form a rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 12 or 16 squares and move to an ungreased cookie sheet, keeping biscuits about 1/2 inch apart. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.Serve immediately with butter, jam, honey, etc. My grandpa used to mix equal parts honey and butter on the edge of his plate, and eat as many biscuits as it took to get rid of the honey butter.
Or make some …
Sausage Cream Gravy:
1 lb sausage
(butter, if you use turkey sausage, since it has no grease of its own)
flour
milk
salt and pepper
Fry the sausage in a large skillet, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle some flour over the cooked meat and stir it in. Repeat until all the grease has been absorbed in the flour. Stir the roux until it starts to “whistle” (my mom’s term – it’s really more like a hiss), then add small amounts of milk at a time, stirring constantly, until the gravy reaches desired thickness. Mom taught me to stir in the milk until the lumps were dissolved, then let it boil again to the whistling point. Three more stirs would tell you if you needed more milk. If it didn’t start to thicken after three stirs, it was done.
This is the same gravy I make after I fry a chicken, pouring off all but about 1/4 c. of the chicken grease to start the roux, scraping up the bits from the frying pan as I go. Sure makes washing the skillet easier.

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