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baking American

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


This dough is almost exactly the same as baking powder biscuit dough, except that it has a little sugar added to it. Instead of making round biscuits, this time you cut the dough into squares. Also, by not letting the cut pieces of dough touch one another when you put them on the baking sheet, the biscuits will be brown and crispy on all sides when baked. This recipe makes half the dough used for the biscuits, but it is enough for 4 good-sized shortcakes.

Yield: Makes 4 shortcakes


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your hands and the board
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup milk


  • Baking Sheet
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Fork
  • Paring Knife or 8-inch Serrated Knife
  • Kitchen Timer
  • Pot Holders


1. Turn the oven on to 450°F. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. With your fingers or a paper towel scoop up a little vegetable shortening and grease a baking sheet.

2. Put the 1 cup flour in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Use a fork to stir the ingredients around 5 or 6 times so they’re well mixed.

3. Measure out 3 tablespoons of shortening and add to the bowl with the flour.

4. Flour your hands, then turn the shortening around in the flour to make it less sticky. Break the shortening into 4 or 5 small pieces and roll them around in the flour mixture to coat them so they are easy to handle.

5. With your fingers, lightly rub the shortening and flour together for about a minute to make little lumps: Plunge your fingers into the bowl and take up a small amount of flour and shortening, rubbing the mixture between your thumbs and fingers and letting the flour and shortening, now lumped together, fall back into the bowl. Repeat, lifting the loose flour up to the top with your hands and rubbing shortening into it to make more lumps. Work lightly. When most of the flour and shortening is combined in little lumps, you have mixed enough.

6. Add the ½ cup milk to the flour and shortening mixture. Stir the dough with a fork. It will be sticky.

7. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour on a large board or counter top. Spread the flour in a circle.

8. Flour your hands again, then scoop the dough out of the bowl and put it onto the floured board. Knead the dough about 10 times: Press down on the dough with the palms of your hands, pushing it away from you. Fold the dough back toward yourself, then give it a quarter-turn. Sprinkle a little more flour over the dough if it gets too sticky to handle easily. Keep pushing, folding, and turning the dough 10 times.

9. Pat the dough into a square about 5 inches on each side. Keep the edges as thick as the middle so the shortcakes will bake evenly. Cut the square into 4 equal square biscuits. Place the shortcakes on the baking sheet about an inch apart.

10. Put the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. The shortcakes almost always take 15 to 18 minutes to bake, but set the timer for 12 minutes, and when it goes off, start checking them. If they have already turned golden brown on top, they are done. If not, let them bake a few more minutes.

11. Use pot holders to remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the shortcakes cool before serving them.

© 1995 Marion Cunningham

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Serving size is 1 shortcake.

243kcal (12%)
174mg (17%)
0mg (0%)
14mcg RAE (0%)
3mg (1%)
403mg (17%)
3g (15%)
11g (17%)
2mg (10%)

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