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July 15, 2020

Baking with kids: Drop biscuits | The Mixing Bowl

Drop biscuits are easy to make, taste good and can also be an educational experience. A chemical reaction happens when the soda in baking powder combines with water.  Carbonic acid forms and dies off to form carbon dioxide bubbles that cause the dough to rise when heated in the oven. This recipe can also be made into a math problem by doubling the recipe. The best thing about “learning by doing” is that if you make an error, it is evident in the results.

For a few years I taught a cooking class at Pajaro Middle School. The school had one of the few real home economics rooms leftover from a time in history when teaching sewing and cooking were part of the educational curriculum. Room 9 had four full kitchens with each one having a stove and a sink surrounded by about 12 lower and upper cabinets with five or six drawers that at one time held everything one would need to cook. An additional teaching kitchen was at the front of the room. There were two adjoining rooms, one with two refrigerators and storage and another, with a washer and dryer.

I taught math, science, language arts, social studies and an elective, cooking, in that room. The rear of the room used to have a few banks of about a dozen sewing machines which were removed in the early 1990s.

This recipe has been field tested in groups with ages 4 to 14. After I retired, I taught at Campus Kids Connection at Delaveaga Elementary for a while. All ages needed to be reminded to wash their hands thoroughly and that they will also need to participate in the cleanup.

The ingredients are made for a group of four so that there is a biscuit for everyone. Younger children often, although not always, need help with measuring. Adults will need to work the oven, do the set up and most likely, the cleanup. When I had a mixed age group, I divided the group by abilities into a measurer, a dry ingredient mixer, a wet ingredient mixer and finally, a combiner and spooner. Double recipe amounts for more. This is a bare bones recipe so have the butter and jam ready for when they are done.

Drop biscuits

Dry ingredients:

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ cup water or milk

1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Get out the butter and jam. In one medium bowl, measure and then whisk the dry ingredients together.

In another smaller bowl, measure and whisk together the wet ingredients.

When the oven is hot, quickly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon for about 15 seconds or so until most of the wet and dry are mixed into a dough. It is okay if here are a few floury lumps. 

Working as fast as possible, with a large spoon, drop the dough off the spoon with your finger onto the oiled baking sheet. This recipe will make about four medium-sized biscuits. Put into the oven and bake for eight minutes. They are done when the tops and bottoms are slightly brown. Bake five minutes more if necessary.


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