We all know I love a good 'old lady' recipe. I read antique cook books all the time. I have a stack of old cookbooks ranging from 1890 and onward on my kitchen table at all times. Whenever I can steal away a moment, I will sit and browse through them with a quiet glass of wine, enjoying the simple pleasure of them OR I will read them voraciously if I am in search of something new and fabulous.
A few years ago, I came across a recipe for biscuits baked in sweet milk and it tweaked my curiosity. It is a breakfast item? Biscuits? Is it dessert? It's sweet? Is sweet milk regular milk? I make a rather killer biscuit, can I use MY biscuits for this? Cinnamon? Oh wait, I LOVE cinnamon rolls... is this a cinnamon roll in milk? OH OH this is EXACTLY the sort of recipe I needed in my repertoire.
I started playing with the recipe and tweaking and pulling and pushing and came up with my own version that I present to you here. It's lusciously old fashioned feeling. It's rich and creamy and light and airy and tender and there's little crisp bits and the milk becomes thick and unctuous like a custard and you pour it over the biscuit. There are few things I make regularly that I like better than this. Seriously, I thought about holding this one close to the chest as my own but then I realized that you need to be as happy as I and my local tester. It's full of nursery memories. It's as good on a cold winters day to warm up as in the middle of Texas heat in July. It's happiness making food
I made it today and took it, straight from the oven to her house and had coffee and a visit and the children all had heaping helpings of it. It confirmed to me that you need to be able to produce this at your whim.
The recipe is painfully simple but so complex and divine in it's simplicity. It's almost the perfect example of why I read the old old old cookbooks. They absolutely, completely, totally knew what they were doing.
Make this, you'll feel the happy. I promise.
TRACY'S BISCUITS BAKED IN SWEET MILK
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk (plus a teaspoon or two if you need it to make a lovely dough)
1/2 cup butter/margarine combo
handful of sugar for coating (1/4 to 1/3 cup?)
cinnamon, the amount you want to shake on
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
healthy dribble of vanilla
Make biscuit dough. Roll it out and cover with butter/margarine. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and roll up. Cut into 1 inch pieces and arrange in a lightly greased dish. Heat the milk/sugar/vanilla to boiling point (small bubbles around the edge) and pour over the biscuits.
Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes. Allow to sit about 10 minutes before diving in and completely devouring.
LONG winded, play by play, with commentary pictures and method:
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8x8 (I use round) baking dish.
Combine the flour and shortening. Mix with your fingertips until it looks like wet sand.
Add 1/2 cup milk, all at once, and mix with a fork until it's a lovely, soft, dough. It should clear the side of the bowl and come together without being sticky. You can add a little dribble of milk more if you need.
Put dough on lightly floured surface and roll to about 10x10? Don't measure, here's my hand as a indication of the size. Mix butter and margarine on a board with a fork.
Spread the butter/margarine on the dough, all the way to the ends! Sprinkle with sugar, relatively generously. I think it's about 1/4-1/3 cup's worth.
Ahhh, sprinkle action shot. Then shake on cinnamon. Not too much, not too little, just a nice light coating unless you're a cinnamon freak then have at it!! Start at one end and start to roll, relatively tightly but don't fret about it,
Roll it and seal the edge if you feel the need. I don't usually bother. With the seam side down, cut the roll into 9-10 1 inch pieces, look at those lovely biscuit sugar cinnamon butter beauties!
Arrange them in the dish, in a single layer, feel free to squash them in to fit. Heat the milk/sugar/vanilla in the microwave until little bubbles appear on the sides, I do 3 minutes.
Stir the hot milk and pour it over the biscuits, yeah, really! It should perfectly cover them. I had 2 that were a bit small so they floated, don't worry about it.
Bake it in the middle of the oven (with a pan underneath because sometimes it boils over) and set timer for 30 minutes. Check it, mine needed another 10 to brown up and be worthy of being taken for a coffee meeting with a girlfriend.
Let it rest about 5 minutes. Then DIVE IN! The biscuit is light and tender and crisp on top. The milk is sweet and thickened from the flour in the biscuit and is almost custardy.