We are going over to our friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I volunteered to bring rolls, so I've been mulling over some ideas and have finally settled on the following: Streusel-topped cornbread muffins, angel biscuits, and mini croissants. An assortment of baked goods appeals to a wide audience, and there is a true mix in this family. There are those who only eat what looks familiar, those who only eat meat and starches, and then there are those more like me, who graze on everything. The angel biscuits will appeal to everyone because they look like a biscuit but eat like a yeast roll, and they are cute!
Angel biscuits is an old recipe with a lot of lore associated with it. Some say they are called "angel" because they are light from the yeast. I recently read in "The Glory of Southern Cooking" by James Villas, that they also go by the moniker, "Bridal Biscuits" because even an inexperienced bride can turn out a delicious biscuit with all the leavening in the dough. In my opinion, they are called angel biscuits because they taste heavenly.
And, if there's one thing that's aplenty down south, it is opinions. Again, my opinion, is that an angel biscuit must be cut with a biscuit cutter. There is a rogue recipe out there that drops the angel biscuit from a spoon. What is delicate, light, and ethereal about a glop of dough on a baking sheet? I think those imposters should more appropriately be named "Hell's Angel" biscuits.
Alright, enough with the opinions and on with the recipe. This dough is easy, tasty, and even more importantly, made in advance. I'm going to whip up a batch of dough after this post, and take a picture of it for you to see. I think I can figure out how to upload a picture to this blog.
Refrigerator Angel Biscuits
Makes: 4 dozen 2-1/2" biscuits, or less with a larger cutter, but the bigger the biscuit the less angelic looking, again my opinion!
1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5 cups all purpose flour
3 TB white sugar
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup plus 2 TB shortening
Dissolve yeast in the warm water and let stand 10 minutes. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until pieces are the size of peas.
Stir in buttermilk and dissolved yeast using a dinner fork. Work only until well moistened. Do not overmix. Put dough in a large covered plastic container and refrigerate until ready to use (it will keep for a week).
To Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Take out only as much dough as you need and place container back in the refrigerator. Carefully roll 1/2" -- 3/4" thick on a well-floured surface. Cut with a 2-1/2" biscuit cutter pushing down and then pulling straight up. Do not twist the cutter.
Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Serve with a flavored butter such honey butter, pumpkin butter, or just plenty of whipped butter.