A few days ago, Mrs. Thompson slipped me the photocopy of a 3 x 5 index card with a recipe on it—it was for Mr. Bo's cherished angel biscuits, and I was honored to be the recipient. Supposedly Mr. Thompson's mother made these, and they are the stuff his biscuit dreams are made of.
The name angel biscuits perfectly describes these, like they're just going to up and fly off of your plate. They are often referred to as "bride's biscuits," because with three different leaveners—baking soda, baking powder, AND yeast—they are virtually foolproof. And since newlyweds are notoriously bad cooks, they need all the help they can get. Hey, don't we all.
The only real "downfall" is that one batch makes over thirty biscuits, so Walt and I have some eating cut out for us. Perhaps I'll freeze some for later? Oh wait, he's already forced down ten since I started typing... So maybe not.
I hope these biscuits find their way to your Easter table, and perhaps even into your cherished recipe box. Mr. Thompson can rest assured they made it into mine.
Source: Adapted from the Thompson Family
Yields: around 30 biscuits, depending on size
1 package dry yeast
2 tablespoons hot water
5 cups all-purpose flour (preferably White Lily)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening, chilled
2 cups buttermilk
Melted butter, for finishing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, add yeast to water and allow to proof (the yeast will begin to bubble and foam) for about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or your hands until the mixture looks like small pebbles. Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture until well-combined. The dough will be very sticky.
Dump on to a floured surface, with extra flour on hand to prevent sticking. Knead until smooth, approximately 2-3 minutes. Roll out dough to 3/4" thickness and cut out rounds with a 2" biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet.
Gather scraps, knead a few times, re-roll, and cut additional biscuits. (Optional: place biscuits in a warm place and allow to sit for one hour. This helps the flavors develop a little more. They still taste great without this step, though.)
Cook biscuits for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.