Makes 10 to 12 biscuits
These drop biscuits are big and fluffy with a delicious, delicate crunch on the outside. The story goes that they got their name because when baked they are the color of a marmalade cat and are about the size of its head. The secret is baking them with a very light coating of vegetable oil that heats in the oven while you mix up the dough. You drop the dough—really more like a batter—onto the hot oiled baking sheet, spoon a little hot oil on top (or just give the biscuits a quick misting of cooking spray), and bake. No fuss, no muss, but lots of delicious bread!
These are especially good served with apple butter but are certainly tasty enough to eat on their own, too.
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup milk, plus a bit more if needed
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet and tilt it to cover the bottom with a very thin layer (add more if needed). Place the pan in the oven to heat.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl and cut in the shortening with a dinner fork until crumbly. Pour in the milk and stir until combined, adding a little more milk if needed (the dough will be wet and a little lumpy).
3. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the pan, leaving about 1 inch between each biscuit, then carefully spoon a bit of the hot oil from the pan over each one.
4. Bake the biscuits until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.
You can bake this as a single loaf of bread. Although it takes a little longer to cook, there is not as much prep work as for biscuits. Use an 8- or 9-inch metal cake pan in place of the rimmed baking sheet and coat it with the lesser amount of oil. Pour the batter into the pan, coat it with cooking spray and bake until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve.
Christy Jordan is the publisher of SouthernPlate.com, a contributing editor to Taste of the South magazine, former editor-at-large at Southern Living, and a judge on the Game Show Network’s Beat the Chefs.She’s appeared on TODAY, Paula Deen, QVC, and a host of other media outlets. She lives with her family in Huntsville, Alabama. Find her on Facebook or Twitter.