Kasey Wilson: There’s a trick to making the best biscuits

Kasey Wilson offers up some helpful hints on making perfect biscuits

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I learned to make light and fluffy Cloud Biscuits as a ninth-grade home economics student, and over the years I’ve picked up tips that have taken them to even greater heights, if you will.


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For starters, make sure your baking powder is fresh enough to really lift the biscuits. It only lasts a year, so replace yours if it’s older.

Today’s Kitchen Hack makes the case for square biscuits, but if you want round ones, try this: Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper and slide it onto your baking sheet. Then cut the biscuits with a round cutter, leaving the surrounding dough in place. It will help them rise to their maximum height, and the odd-shaped bits make great snacks.

In buttermilk biscuit recipes, replacing the buttermilk with a combination of crème fraîche and whipping cream yields an exceptionally rich and fluffy result.

In biscuit recipes that call for butter, use a top-quality brand (I like Avalon), and grate the ice-cold butter instead of cubing it up.


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I’m also sharing a favourite strawberry quick bread recipe along with a scrumptious marmalade and flavoured butters. Now all we need is a fresh pot of tea.

Cloud Biscuits

The name says it all.

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (20 mL) baking powder

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar

½ cup (125 mL) vegetable shortening

1 egg

2/3 cup (150 mL) milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Measure flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl; whisk to combine and aerate. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a large bowl, beat egg with milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms.

Round up dough on lightly floured board and knead gently 20 times, 1 to 2 minutes. Roll out dough to a thickness of ½ inch and cut into 12 biscuits (see Kitchen Hack).


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Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 1 dozen biscuits

Strawberry Loaf

This bread freezes well and makes delicious toast the second day after baking.

½ cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

½ tsp (2 mL) almond extract

2 eggs, separated

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh strawberries or thawed and drain frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with greased wax paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks.

Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into another bowl and whisk to combine and aerate. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with strawberries, beating between additions just until incorporated.


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With clean beaters, beat egg white until stiff and fold into batter.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until a metal skewer inserted at centre comes out clean. Set pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Unmould loaf onto rack and allow to cool completely.

Makes 8 to 10 slices

Jana Roerick’s Carrot-Orange-Ginger Marmalade has a jewel-like appearance and lively flavour.
Jana Roerick’s Carrot-Orange-Ginger Marmalade has a jewel-like appearance and lively flavour. Photo by DL Acken /PNG

Carrot-Orange-Ginger Marmalade

Carrots aren’t a usual marmalade ingredient, but they work beautifully with zingy ginger and aromatic orange. (Adapted from Jana Roerick’s Little Island Bake Shop: Heirloom Recipes Made for Sharing)

3 lemons, zest coarsely grated and reserved

4 oranges, zest coarsely grated and reserved

1 lb carrots, peeled and finely grated

1 cup (250 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 cup (250 mL) chopped crystallized ginger


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1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly grated ginger

1 (170-mL) package liquid pectin (2 pouches)

5 cups (1250 mL) sugar

1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter

Cut citrus fruit into quarters; trim and discard pith and remove any seeds. Place in a food processor and process until smooth.

In a large stainless-steel stockpot, combine carrots, citrus purée and 1 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, crystallized ginger, citrus zests and fresh ginger. Simmer, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes.

Stir in pectin and bring to a boil. Add sugar and return to a boil, stirring continuously until mixture can’t be stirred down. Remove from heat, add butter and stir for 5 minutes.

Pour hot marmalade into 8 hot, sterilized (250-mL) canning jars. Leave a ½-inch headspace and wipe rims clean. Place lids and rings on jars and allow them to seal.


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Makes 8 jars

Flavoured Butters

Honey Lemon Butter: Beat together ½ cup honey, ½ cup softened butter, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp coriander and the zest of ½ lemon. Makes about ½ cup.

Strawberry Butter: Beat together 1 cup softened butter and 2 tsp icing sugar. Fold in 1 cup sliced strawberries. Makes about 1 cup. Serve on biscuits or toast.

Kitchen Hack: Square Biscuits

Round biscuits are the norm, but using a round cutter means you have to gather, re-form and recut the scraps, and that extra handling makes for tough biscuits. Instead, form the dough into a rectangle or square and use a dough scraper: a wide, dull knife to portion and transfer hunks of dough: or pizza cutter to cut square biscuits. If you want to be precise, use a ruler to mark the rows before you begin cutting.



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Source: vancouversun.com