Tonight I made squirrel biscuits, a staple food in the house for many years now. Chances are good that if you ate dinner at my house in undergrad, you ate a squirrel biscuit. They were originally baked because they didn’t need cream of tartar. I have never needed the stuff for anything else, so why keep it around for biscuits? I feel that the perfect texture you can achieve without it makes these biscuits such a success. Flaky and fluffy with just a little crispiness on the bottom, they’re extra perfect when served with home made turkey soup.
The name comes from the shape in which the biscuit should be cut, not an addition of actual squirrel (I haven’t found an actual biscuit recipe that calls for squirrel, although there are lots of recipes for squirrel, biscuits and gravy). If you’ve ever been in Kingston, ON, you know the squirrels there are the stuff of legends. Most students have at least one strange story that involves a squirrel (and some are down right scary!). So why not pay honour to these mighty beasts and make biscuits in their image? Plus, they are so cute when the come out of the oven…
I used to have a lovely copper squirrel shaped cookie cutter. Sadly, I have been unable to find the cutter in the past couple years, so tonight’s biscuits were moose shaped. Moose shaped biscuits are just as delicious as the original squirrels, but lack that je ne c est qua of the rodent version. It seems some what wrong to make the biscuits moose shaped, but despite using the wrong shaped cookie cutter, we still devoured an entire batch of them.
For anyone interested in making their own:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F
- Mix 2 cups of flour, 4 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp sugar in a bowl
- Cut in a 1/2 cup of shortening (I use vegetable) using a pastry cutter, or that 2 knife method until the shortening is the size of small peas
- Add 2/3 cup milk and stir until the dough forms a ball (don’t over mix)
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board, and knead 14 times
- Pat until 1/2 inches thick
- Cut using a squirrel shaped cookie cutter (may substitute other animal shapes, my mother has a lovely dingo shaped cookie cutter that would make fine biscuits)
- Place on a lined cookie sheet and bake until slightly golden (about 10 min)
- Eat while hot, with butter, dipped in soup