I love teaching people the tricks I've learned as I research the fluffy wonder of the biscuit.
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Stuffing or dressing?  Call it what you wish --  it is a personal thing.  Very much like your favorite biscuit.   Many times it all comes down to your traditions, what you grew up with. I always laugh when foodies argue the "stuffing versus dressing" terms.  Does it really matter? Just pass it to the left and give me some.
  In our house growing up in Ohio, it was "stuffing."  My mother stuffed our turkey with mounds of white bread she would tear by hand.  I remember her adding chopped celery, onion, mushrooms, melted butter, and Bell Turkey seasoning.  She crammed as much as she could into the bird and sewed it in with a needle and thread.  The stuffing that  didn't make it into the bird was put into a pyrex dish and baked.  
  That was before all the bacteria scares we have today and the strict advice to "never stuff your bird."  For the recored,  we never got sick...and to me -- that was and is the best dressing in the world.  My mother is gone now, and I've never had any stuffing as great as hers -- perhaps that is the way it should be.
  Then, when I moved to the South, I was surprised to learn that most dressings or stuffings  here are made with stale biscuits and cornbread.  My first Thanksgiving in Nashville I was an invited guest, I  recall politely chewing with smile on my face --  as I wondered?...What is this?  Where is  my childhood stuffing fix?
  So now, I live between both worlds.  My now Southern home and my very Yankee past.  So this year, I wanted to get my biscuits into my Thanksgiving meal and keep my own family traditions.  So, I attempted to make my mom's stuffing (out of the bird and into my big cast iron skillet)  and topped it with homemade biscuits.  I love how this marries my memories of my childhood and my love of Southern Biscuits.  I baked the stuffing for 45 minutes..then placed my biscuits on top to bake.  I'll feature this biscuit recipe in my next post.  It is super easy, takes minutes.  A recipe was given to me by a biscuit homemaker, Phyllis, who shared her recipe with me.

Cranberry Orange Biscuits, perfect for holiday mornings.  Easy to make just follow my recipe.
I'm enjoying looking forward to Thanksgiving and coming up with biscuit reicpes for the holidays...  Maryann
Maryann's Orange Cranberry Biscuits
 It all started a few weeks ago at my favorite coffee shop.  The grand cranberry orange muffins in the pastry case  waved at me through the glass --  tempting me.   We had a good long stare down, but, I did bite.  mmm it was good  But? You know?   Not good enough.  It was more like yellow cake with a hint of orange..and cranberries.  It left me wanting something more.  That burst of flavor.  I wanted the taste to equal the muffin's visual appeal.  All flash might work in the muffin world..but not in my biscuit world.
   So?   Since I think biscuits and biscuits are my thing; I dreamed up my own Orange Cranberry Biscuit recipe, one you can roll out for the holidays.  It is very orange, hearty..and chock full of tasty fresh cranberries which, by the way, you can get cheaper this week than ever.  I bought a bag for  $1 yesterday.  After downing a few hot out of the oven,  I put most of mine in the freezer so I can serve them Thanksgiving morning with breakfast.  They pair perfect with hot tea or coffee.  Serve them hot with butter.  They look and taste like a celebration.
  What I decided to do was to add rolled oats to my flour to give the biscuit a hearty taste.  I used orange juice concentrate and some orange jello in the mix as well.  I added some fresh grated orange zest.  I chopped my fresh cranberries in my chopper with sugar.  I also pressed some into the dough after I rolled it out and sprinkled oats to finish.  These don't rise super high..but no worries..they are tender and so delicious.

 Cranberry Orange Biscuits

1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of orange Jello (dry mix)
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup chilled butter
1 cup chopped cranberries covered in 2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup milk or butter milk

Preheat oven to 450

Mix flour, oats, sugar, jello mix, grate in orange rind (about 1/4 tsp or as much as you'd like) ..cut in butter until mixture resembles course cornmeal.  Add cranberries and mix.  Add liquid.  Stir until dough is formed.
Roll out onto a floured surface.  Kneed it about four times..roll to 2/3 inch thickness.  Add some chopped sugared cranberries and sprinkle oats on the top of dough and press gently.  Cut rounds.  Place of buttered pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until done.  


I couldn't have been more thrilled when my daughter came home for the weekend from college and one of the first things she said was, "Are you going to bake me biscuits?"  You know I loved hearing that.  And this is what I try to convey to people about homemade biscuits -- they build family tradition in the most simple way.  A little flour is all it takes...and you can buy it on sale...pennies.

  Biscuits for my Madison was hardly a tall order, especially when I adjusted my recipe just for her.  I decided to bake her two biscuits and here is how I did it.

1/2 cup self rising flour
1 Tablespoon chilled butter, crisco, or lard ( I used butter)
1/8 cup of milk or buttermilk  
pinch of salt
dash of sugar

Mix dry ingredients, cut butter into the flour, add liquid and form a small dough ball
Pat or roll it out..and cut two large biscuit rounds.  Place on buttered cookie sheet, top
With melted butter and bake 14-18 minutes in a 450 degree oven. 

This recipe makes two perfect biscuits.  My daughter even pulled out her cell phone to text of a picture of them to her friend who came over for dinner and ate biscuits with us this summer.  Customizing the recipe cuts down on waste, makes hardly no mess at all, and is super fun because homemade is always better than frozen.   I also have my bachelor biscuit for one.  I'll post that soon.

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  As I type this post, I catch a glimpse of my hands on the computer keyboard -- and  my rings show evidence of my whirlwind of biscuit making and teaching as of late. They have biscuit dough stuck in the settings — a jeweler would have a fit...but not a biscuit maker.   I remember Southern Chef, Daisy King, telling me as I watched her make Angel Biscuits, "I keep my rings on -- it is part of the love."  Makes me smile every time I look back remembering her rings covered in flour as she effortlessly turned out her dough.  Daisy King is always dressed so beautifully --  and that day she had on a big trendy bubble ring, covered in flour a little bit of dough.
  I have met such incredible loving people in my homemade biscuit odyssey.  These past weeks, no exception, and have been filled with biscuits galore.  I've shown a lot of  people how to make my Magic Biscuit, Sweet Potato biscuits, and my Old Fashioned Yellow Cake Biscuits.  I baked 350 country ham and cheese biscuits for the Wilson Country Fair...every single one eaten.  I was so flattered.

  I never dreamed when I started filming The Rise of the Southern Biscuit that I'd end up doing what I was documenting: baking biscuits, thinking about biscuits, making up my own recipes.
    I was asked the other day, "When did you start baking biscuits?"  My answer is this; that when I shot the film I realized how powerful the innocent little flour biscuit can be.  I noted a real emotional tie between the homemade biscuit and positive memories of love; mostly memories of home, but also of friendship and love.  But even after I wrote the book, The Biscuit Dive Guide, and interviewed so many biscuit makers, I never thought I'd actually be enjoying the art of biscuit making like I am now.  My sincere desire and passion is to motivate all of you to give it a try.  I find most people are game.  Below are some pictures of my biscuit friends from Ingredients, Del Webb, and the Wilson Country Fair. 
Marcia Hines, Maryann Byrd, Jennifer Hines and Joanne at Ingredients.
maryann's biscuits
Del Webb Biscuits; Old Fashioned Yellow and Berry Cobbler, Country Ham and Cheese, Sweet Potato with Fried Chicken and a slice of magic biscuit
Maryann Byrd signing book
Maryann Byrd signing books at the Wilson Country Fair.
Here is Bill Carothers  who attended a screening of  my biscuit film at  the Del Webb Community near Nashville a few weeks ago.  He went on to sign up for a hands on biscuit baking class with me.  Here he is doing his thing, and I have to say he was a natural.   I see great biscuit making in his future.  He is making my Old Fashioned Yellow Cake Biscuits  to top off the berry cobbler that you can see in the foreground of the photo.  
  To a classic biscuit recipe, we add extra butter and an egg and sugar to give the biscuits a yellow cake like taste and look.    Topping a cobbler with biscuits is so Southern so why not?  He cut these biscuits into scalloped edged rounds —  a giant one in the middle and smaller ones all around.  It was a thing of beauty..tasted so good too.  We ate everything we baked that day.
Bill taking my biscuit baking class at Del Webb. He was a biscuit baking natural