Angel Biscuits. God Bless ‘Em.

Bread, Southern / Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Biscuits 1

Ah, comfort food.

You have no idea how much we were looking forward to the Fourth of July. First, we were going to drive to my parents’ house for our annual Red, White, and Blue Breakfast–an event that started after Momma handed Daddy the business end of a sparkler and we had to come up with a fireworks alternative.

Then we were going to drive to Jeff’s hometown for the Fourth of July Family Reunion. Imagine hundreds of people gathered near a huge oak tree with so many grills going that they use refrigerators powered by hundreds of yards of extension cords to store the uncooked meat. Older people explaining how everyone’s related and children underfoot. Taking your turn shooting the potato cannon–a PVC pipe that, with a little pump action, will blast a raw baking potato into the middle of next week.

And after a day with family, we were going to drive to the small-town festival where we got engaged. It’s a sign post on blacktop, but the entire city raises money 364 days of the year for the fireworks show, and it is spectacular. People drive in for miles.

But Jeff got sick. Very sick. The nurse told me to restrict his meals to white flour, which was quite a blow to a man with visions of slathered ribs dancing in his head.

So, I baked him some Angel Biscuits.

Angel biscuits are the biscuit/roll hybrid that’s been a staple of Southern ladies’ luncheons for at least 60 years. They are light, foolproof (thanks to three leaveners), and the yeast gives them a unique flavor. Plus, the dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, so you can bake them off as needed.

While I was looking for the right recipe, I found Kitty Crider’s “Anything For Mother,” a column the food editor wrote about flying to visit her dying mother, a Southern cook who had lost her appetite. Kitty offers to cook anything. Her mother sits silently for a long time, sips her tea, and settles on angel biscuits. It’s a beautiful piece. One worth reading.

Just like Kitty, I burned the first batch. But the second batch was delicious. Jeff ate enough to take his antibiotic, and I ate enough for a third-world country.

After the jump, you’ll find the Angel Biscuit recipe from The Blue Willow Inn Restaurant in Social Circle, Ga. These biscuits are true comfort food–easy to prepare and proven to comfort the sick, soothe the soul, and serve as an excellent vehicle for both butter and love, which are often the same.

Angel Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Louis and Billie Van Dyke’s “The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking”

Makes 12 to 15 biscuits

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons warm water
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or your fingertips.
  4. In a small bowl, soften the yeast in warm water, and stir until dissolved.
  5. Mix with the buttermilk, and combine the mixture with the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough ball forms.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter.
  7. Place the biscuits on a buttered baking pan, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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26 thoughts on “Angel Biscuits. God Bless ‘Em.

  1. My goodness do your biscuits look warm and yummy. I’m a big fan of Southern comfort food, so I’ll be trying these out soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Sorry to hear your husband is under the weather. He is a lucky man, though. These look great. Quick question, though. If you reserve some of the dough and bake them in smaller batches, do you adjust the time? (Yeast and I are still learning to get along, so I never know how to treat it if I sway from directions.)

  3. Hey, Danielle–

    The time should be about the same, but you’ll want to stay close to the oven for that first batch.

    Some recipes call for letting the cut biscuits rise on a baking sheet and then baking them off, so you might try them both ways–using them cold straight out of the fridge vs. letting them come to room temperature and rising–to see which ones you like best.

  4. Those look awesome! I love biscuits! I’ve made them once before, but not with yeast in them. I’m bookmarking this recipe!
    I hope your husband starts to feel better! I’m sure these biscuits must have helped.

  5. These look great – I love biscuits! I just finished reading a hilarious little cookbook about Southern life – “Being Dead is no Excuse.” It’s a compendium of Mississippi Delta funerary foods and traditions that had me rolling.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear that hubby was sick! Such a bummer! These Angel Biscuits must have been just the comfort he needed. Lucky guy.

  7. And momma swore to god you couldn’t make a good biscuit until menopause… congratulations my pre-menopausal culinary wonder.

  8. I feel for your husband…I was in the same place a week ago, and I still had to be cautious what I ate this weekend…man I could use one of these delicious biscuits!

    BTW, LOVE the new look of your site!

  9. All the women (southern, poor) in our family used snuff cans to cut out their biscuits. Alas, a snuff can now costs MORE than a nice stainless steal cutter. I think it was the snuff can that added to the biscuit! NOW the whole world knows the secret to a good southern biscuit. AND I still think you have to be 50+ to bake a bisuit!

  10. These look so melt-in-your-mouth delicioius! I’ve never tasted or made angel biscuits, I think you’ve convinced me to give them a try. Thanks for viting my blog and commenting on the lemonade post, sounds great with rinds in the pitcher! You know I didn’t even know what a meat-and-three was so I had to google it. I think you all have too much fun in the south :)

  11. They look wonderful. I’ve made angel biscuits with cream, not buttemilk, so I need to give these a try. I hope Jeff is on the road to ribs and recovery.

  12. Those look amazing! Biscuits were on my list this of things to do this weekend that never got done. Your blog is gorgeous, too!

  13. Yikes, getting sick on the 4th of July sucks. Best wishes to Jeff for a speedy recovery! The biscuits looks lovely.

    By the way, thanks for the visit. I followed the link to yours and nearly spit out my coffee laughing at the clever name. Enjoy The Tudors!

  14. I am the farthest thing from a southern woman and I just had southern biscuits in NC last year but I FELL in LOVE. I am so tempted to try making these. But I’d eat enough for the whole WORLD…not just a country! hahhaa.

  15. Wonderful to celebrate Angel Biscuits this way. In 1976, I worked in the Missouri office of the Democratic National Presidential Campaign. Since it was Jimmy Carter running that year, we had a lot of people from the south in general, and Georgia in particular, in the office. One of our volunteers (Thanks, Shirley!) showed me a recipe for Angel Biscuits from the Plains, GA (Jimmy’s home town) Women’s Auxiliary Cookbook. I was then a 23 year old fellow, though I’d been cooking since age fifteen regularly. Here we are 33 years later, and I’m still baking, and loving, Angel Biscuits.

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