Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cathead Biscuits (Say what?)

This recipe was printed in the April 2010 issue of Cook's Country Magazine (Cook's Illustrated).  I am just now getting around to sharing it with you. This is the same issue where I found the recipe for Creamy Asparagus Soup.  The soup is fast, delicious and one of my top favorites.  My family says I make the best soups (and I thank them).  However, they also expect some kind of bread with their soup.  As I was making the aforementioned soup, I realized I didn't have bread on hand.  I decided to try this recipe.  Now, I'm a California girl. I'm not a Southern Belle, nor am I a Texas resident. Therefore, my disclaimer is that I am neither a big fan of biscuits nor do I think I'd win blue ribbons for my biscuit making skills.  Actually, I think I've only made biscuits (from scratch) once before.  Croissants? Yes, I love them.  I have yet to make those from scratch, and I don't see that anytime in the near future-- I know what work and how much butter that entails.  Homemade Buttery yeast rolls? You bet! Biscuits? Eh. The article that came with the recipe intrigued me, and so I decided to test my waters as a biscuit baker:
Cat Head Biscuits

When we spied “cat head biscuits” on a highway billboard near Greensboro, N.C., we did an immediate double take (not to mention a U-turn) to see what exactly they were. Aside from an unfortunate name, the biscuits themselves were tender and moist with a golden brown, craggy exterior and well worth reproducing back in the test kitchen. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

Traditional cat heat biscuit recipes were made with lard, but most modern recipes use shortening instead. We found shortening alone to be too artificial tasting, so we substituted most of the shortening for butter.

To create a more tender biscuit, use an equal mix of cake flour and all-purpose. Most biscuit recipes call for cold fat, which is “cut” into the dry ingredients to promote a flaky texture. Because we were after a fluffy texture, softened butter and shortening worked in with warm hands worked much better.

There’s no need to knead this biscuit dough; just use a portion scoop to scoop out hefty lumps into a cake tin.

MIX DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 9-inch cake pan. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Rub with fingers Using my food processor, I pulsed the butter and shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk until combined.  (As you can see, I have a love affair with my Cuisinart. Use your hands, as Cook's Country did.  I'll still love you.) I like to add parchment paper; I buy pre-cut round parchment paper at King Arthur Flour. Use a greased 1/2-cup measure or large spring-loaded ice cream scoop to transfer 6 heaping portions of dough into prepared pan, placing 5 around pan’s perimeter and 1 in center.

This was so quick, that I was smiling at how effortless this was to make.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve.

VERDICT: While I cannot resist a yeast roll, I was pleased with how easy these are to make. They were, indeed, tender (even though I used a food processor).  My family loves to dunk rolls into soup, and these were well-liked.  I liked them, but I'll still go for the Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls before any kind of biscuit.  Just sayin'!   If YOU love biscuits, give these a try. They're fast and easy. I'd make this recipe, again, but would be very tempted to add some fresh chives and even some cheese.

 In the meantime, I like butter and honey.  Yeah, that will do just fine!

I couldn't resist posting this photo.  I was comparing the biscuits to one of our geriatric felines. This is our own sweet "Cat Head" -- "Camo".  She and her sister are almost 13 years old now.

A printable recipe is posted at the bottom of this page.

Back to work!

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Joanne said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your job has taken over your life! But at least I can look forward to some really tasty crockpot recipes in the winter! These biscuits look. Awesome.

Raina said...

I am a huge bread lover, biscuits, rolls, bread you name it, and I also love to dunk it in my soup:) Looking forward to trying these and your wonderful soup. They look great.

I know what you mean about not having time to post. I feel so guilty because I have not had the time to post or make comments as often as I would like.

But don't worry, we will still be here when you do have time to post. In the meantime, we will just enjoy the recipes you have already shared:)

Carla and Michael said...

Life happens! As others have said in the past. We hope life gets a little easier for you when you've finished with your endeavors at getting your esthetician career back on track. We will be here for you.
In the meantime I think I need to make these biscuits to pair up with some jams and jellies for breakfast. Looking forward to more of your wonderful recipes whenever you can find the time to post them for us.

Stacey Snacks said...

I am sorry you are working so hard this summer and not in the kitchen as much. I miss your posts.
The biscuits look great, and I LOVE Camo! He looks like my Shasta, who is gone one year ago today. :{

Lisa said...

This looks so delicious and easy. Thanks for taking the time to share. I can relate to your work/time issues. I went back to work full time last week, after being a SAHM for the past 5 years. It is a difficult transition and I'm not sure how my blog fits in with life right now.

Kim said...

Both myself and my entire family love biscuits and you really worked your magic on these! They look fluffy, delicate and drool-worthy! Definitely a recipe that I'd like to try!!

Sorry to hear about those long hours you've been keeping for work! I bet you really enjoy your weekends.

Monica H said...

I do love a good biscuit, though I haven't always. These look so light and tender. Hand me some butter and honey, maybe even a pieve of fried chicken and I'd be one happy camper!

Camo is such a pretty kitty!

bellini valli said...

I don't think these biscuits would last very long. Sunday is usually my day for cooking and in the winter I make enough for the entire week.

Patti (aka Mint) said...

Oh my, I think I would drop dead if I had a schedule like that No wonder you haven't had time to blog. I sure hope things get a little easier for you. I do miss your posts and recipes, but on the bright side I can now take the time to wander about your blog and check out all of your past recipes that I have missed. :)
Mmmm, biscuits! Love 'em and make them at least once a week. My family is like yours..bread with soup. Makes it easier to sop up what's at the bottom of the bowl.:) So usually it's biscuits with soup or corn bread biscuits when I make chili.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Debby. I enjoyed this typically fine post of yours as much as I like CI or ATK, of course. Initially I was worried that my cats might not like the idea of the biscuit's name (the smaller one is a laptop-cat, sitting on the keyboard when she feels like, while the larger, George, is fortunately just a lapcat!).

I hope you manage to take some time for yourself.



T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Glad to hear the job is going well, even though it is time consuming. Love the biscuits, and will look forward to your posts whenever you have the opportunity!

Cocina Savant said...

I have eaten my share of cathead biscuits growing up in the deep South and I have to say that your picture of the biscuits turned out better than the magazine photo. Bravo.

Avril Miller said...

LOVE this!!!! I can't wait to make this I've been looking for a really good foul proof biscuit recipe...looks like this could be it! Gorgeous biscuits and a GORGEOUS cat!!! :-)

Salsa Verde said...

It looks so delicious with or without the butter and honey...
Thanks for sharing with us, even with all the work you are having.

Pink Lady Gumbo said...

WHOOPEEEE!!!! i just got my excited!!! thanx again debbie!!! can't wait to try it out

Ingrid said...

These biscuits are mouth watering!

Judy said...

Wow what a schedule you are keeping! The biscuit recipe is interesting, and I do love biscuits, but I am going to ck out the rolls you mentioned.
PS Please stop by my blog ( and enter my $70 giveaway. Deadline Sun., 7/25, midnight. Open to all.

gmm said...

Just curious, how many biscuits did you end up with? The recipe says it makes six, but I made this exact same recipe this evening with very heaping scoops of an ice cream scoop, and I had enough dough for eight biscuits.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Dear Gmm,
I never noticed, as I copied the recipe! I got eleven biscuits in a 9" cake pan.

paigejadenalex said...

why won't the recipe for this show up? when I scroll down there is no recipe. my 7 year old son REALLY wants me to make them "cuz they look so yummy!!" thanks!

Debby Foodiewife said...

I'm sorry you can't see the recipe card. Sometimes, Internet Explorer causes that problem and I don't know what to say. Try using Google Chrome or Mozilla...or go to and then find my profile "foodiewife" and you will see ALL of my recipe cards. If that doesn't work, email me at and I will send you the link.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Well,I'm not a Southern Belle either, but I AM a biscuit lover. These look different from any I've made, so they're going on the list of must trys!