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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thinking outside the box - drop biscuit pan

This is a cast iron drop biscuit pan. It's supposed to be for biscuits. And boy does it make good biscuits!

My favorite feature is the molds, which shape the biscuit batter into disks, so you don't have to do any extra work to go from "drop" to "rolled" biscuits.

Friends don't let friends eat canned biscuits. I usually make them from Bisquick, but recently I tried buttermilk biscuits from scratch for the first time! They tasted a lot like the biscuits from Cracker Barrell, actually.

The recipe I used came right out of Cast Iron Cooking for Dummies: 2 cups all purpose flour*, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 3 tbsp crisco**, 2 tbsp butter, 1 cup milk or buttermilk.***

*If you use self rising flour, you can omit the baking powder and salt.

**The combination of butter and crisco is entirely up to your personal preference. It ranges from 5 tbsp butter and no crisco, to 5 tbsp crisco and no butter. Crisco makes it tender, crispy and denser; Butter makes it flaky, flavorful and lighter. Personally I would prefer more butter, and next time I'm going to try all butter.

***Milk if you want regular biscuits, buttermilk if you want buttermilk biscuits.

Heat oven to 450. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl (unless you're using self rising flour). Cut in the shortening/butter with a pastry mixer until it resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and stir. Drop by the spoonfuls into the biscuit pan. Bake until done.

I'd like to try cheesy biscuits like they serve at Red Lobster. The recipe for that is the same as for regular biscuits, except you use 3/4 cup of milk and add finely shredded cheddar cheese.

Now that's biscuits! But, I like to think outside the box. What else can this pan be used for?

Brownies! Muffins and cupcakes, although they'd be shorter and wider than normal. Mini meatloafs, eggs, mini quiches, crab cakes, buns or rolls.

Use your imagination, but even if all you ever use it for is biscuits, it's a great pan.

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