My favorite “go-to” recipe for days when the cabinets are bare and the wallet is empty is biscuits and gravy. You can say its a comfort food for me because my mom used to make it all the time when I was growing up; in fact, the gravy recipe is hers!
I tend to change up the biscuit recipe from time to time depending on what I have in the fridge. Our favorites are cream cheese biscuits, but for today we will talk about basic fluffy drop biscuits because they take minimal ingredients that I consider to be regular ol’ kitchen stock to me (I always have these items on hand pretty much all the time).
From start to finish, this takes about 30 minutes and makes about 8 biscuits, which is just the right amount to feed my little family.
- 1-3/4 c All Purpose Flour
- 2-1/2 t Baking Powder
- 1 t Salt
- 6 T Butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 c Milk (+ a splash more depending on style of biscuit)
Note: this recipe will make flaky but firmer biscuits if rolled out and cut. If you like fluffy biscuits, add a splash more milk and make drop biscuits, like I did.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees (fahrenheit) and either butter the baking sheet or prepare with a silicone liner.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until all dry ingredients are distributed evenly.
- Cut butter into small squares. I typically take the portion I’m using off a new stick of butter, cut lengthwise, roll to the next side and cut lengthwise again so the stick of butter (see below) looks like a foursquare court. Then I will cut it like a small pad of butter and add to the bowl.
- Next, mix the butter into the dry ingredients and roll up your sleeves, because you’re about to get your hands dirty! Lightly roll the butter squares between your fingers into the flour. Don’t let the butter dissolve completely, this is just a quick incorporation.
- Next, add the milk. Be sure not to mix too much because the more you work the dough, the more the gluten bonds form and you’ll get a tough dough. If you notice the dough is starting to get tougher (like gum that’s been chewed too long), just let it rest and soak up the fluid naturally.
- Here’s where the directions will differ depending on which style biscuit you want to make.
- Firm biscuits: Roll out the dough on a flat, well floured surface to 1/2-3/4″ thick. Use round cookie cutter or a glass with the diameter you want (we use a beer glass in our house). Please on the pan about 2-3″ apart.
- Fluffy drop biscuits: add a couple of teaspoons of milk to the batter and drop gobs onto your pan about 2-3 inches apart. I made my biscuits on the larger side, so I only had 7 biscuits this time, but it should yield 8.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the tops appear light golden brown. Bread is a tricky beast, so if you take it out too early and try to return it to the oven a few minutes later, it will not continue baking where it left off. I just look for a nice even light brown coloring on top with a firm dry finish (if it’s still wet looking, it’s likely not done yet). The best way to check, aside from cracking one open, is to stick a toothpick or fork through the middle and if it comes out clean, you’re in business!
While the biscuits are baking in the oven, it’s time to make gravy!
- 2T butter or lard. We save and use bacon grease (the old school way! Ask your Grandma about this.)
- 1/4-1/3 c All Purpose Flour
- 2 c Milk
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Break out your favorite skillet and scoop out some butter or bacon grease into the pan; set to medium heat. As it melts into the pan, add the flour and mix together to form a paste. Try to do this quickly because browning at this step will change the flavor.
Add milk and mix together slowly but thoroughly using your spatula. Don’t stop stirring or mixing because it will lump up on you! If it starts to simmer (see bubbles), turn the heat down slightly. Keep stirring and scraping the sides and bottom until it reaches the consistency you like. Typically, the gravy is done about the same time as the biscuits. When it reaches the right consistency, remove from heat and set aside.
To make things easier for my family, I will put the biscuits in a basket lined with a clean dish towel and wrap the sides of the towel over to the top to keep them hot between servings.
We don’t own a fancy gravy boat, but we do have a large mug that borders on soup bowl capacity, so we use this for the gravy. Here it is all lined up on the table and ready to enjoy!