Dropping the Ball on Drop Biscuits

Me, at the start of this.

Brought ya in with those beautiful looking biscuits, didn’t I? THEY’RE NOT MINE. But do read ahead because today’s food item was a comedy of errors. I was doing some work listening to a school board meeting, and was browsing Twitter while listening to it. Serious Eats posted a picture of biscuits, and a recipe, so I clicked. “Just 25 minutes and five basic ingredients stand between you and these fluffy, tender drop biscuits,” they promised and teased me.

I looked at the ingredients, which consisted of one stick of butter, flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. In my head, I thought we had a stick of butter from the last time I bought some for whatever other baking craziness I plunged into. I told myself once I finished the school board meeting, I would go check to see if we had that stick of butter, and if we did, I would give these drop biscuits a whirl. Board meeting ended, so I ran downstairs. I see sticks!


Turns out, those sticks were not butter sticks, but cream cheese sticks. So, I had to turn to conventional butter spread in a container and ended up using the entire spread to be able to get to four ounces of butter. That was my first, but not my last mistake.

The first direction: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Okay, easy enough. I can do that! I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and grabbed the “parchment paper” to line the baking sheet. Take note of those scare quotes for later.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I can do that! This is easy; they weren’t kidding! But, of course, I always manage to overdo the flour. The tricky thing about flour is that even when you’re using a measuring cup to measure out the 1 1/2 cups, the way flour is, it sort of clumps densely, and so you get more than what you’re actually measuring. That’s why I have a sifter. But I didn’t use my sifter. Why didn’t I use my sifter?!

Toss butter into dry ingredients until coated with flour, and then pour in 3/4th cup of milk. Okay, but now it seems too dry, probably because of putting too much flour in it instead of the “slightly sticky, shaggy dough,” they promised. Complicating my comparisons to the photos in the recipe, I should note, is that I used wheat flour because that’s what we have. The colorization is different, and well, not as aesthetically-pleasing.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Okaaaay. Here’s what they looked like after 20 minutes:

The wheat flour really doesn’t help with the look, huh?

Oh, and I didn’t use parchment paper. I USED WAX PAPER; WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

Me, after making these.

Aside from the fact that you’re not supposed to put wax paper in the oven, and to be clear about this, I did, the “biscuits” stuck to the wax paper, and so, the underside of the biscuits were completely useless since they were stuck to the paper. Instead, I had to use a knife to scrape away the top half of the “biscuits” to eat. BUT! I am here to tell you, fine folks, that despite all of these mishaps, there was still a yummy “biscuit” in there somewhere. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with baking milk and butter. It’s milk and butter. It’s still going to taste good. In the end, I scraped off the top halves of the biscuits and threw the rest away.

I went wrong with the butter, the wax paper, and then I really went wrong with overdoing the flour (I suspect) since I lost the effect of what a biscuit ought to do (rise). But overall? My dog and I enjoyed the scraps, although I’m sure she’d retort that even her dog biscuits are more biscuit than my biscuits. Alas.

I promise I’m a better cook than I am a baker.

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