A Tale of Two Biscuit Recipes

Not long after my copy of the Knott’s cookbook arrived I learned that a new edition had been released for 2020 with updated recipes more relevant and used in the park than the recipes themed to Knott’s locations in the older edition. With Knott’s now allowing folks to do online pick up orders from their marketplace I decided to grab a copy, along with a few other goodies, and do a recipe comparison.

View of Independence Hall from online pickup line
GhostRider lovingly framed by the cracks in our windshield
Some of the goods

My plan was to try the original cookbook’s recipe first, followed by the new one. The Mrs.Knott’s Chicken Dinner buttermilk biscuits would be my starting experiment. As a reference the Knott’s Berry Farm Blog shared a copy of the original recipe. The blog does leave out what I learned was a key part of the recipe, making sure to thoroughly sift the dry ingredients.

Simply put, this first attempt at the biscuits was a disaster. They were hard, you could taste the baking powder, and were all around sad. I have never seen my partner look like he wanted to cry eating something I had made before. I’m not the mayor of Flavortown by any means but I’d say I’m typically a competent cook and baker. These might be the worst things I’ve ever made.

WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE?

It took me a few days to get over the disappointment of my first attempt and narrow down what my issues had been. They were the following:

  1. I did not sift the dry ingredients enough.
  2. Using the whisk instead of the dough hook on my stand mixer which further lead to the ingredients not mixing well together.
  3. WHY DOES IT WANT ME TO COOK THEM AT 500 DEGREES? they cooked so fast by the time I took them out of the oven they were burnt af.
  4. Shortening and oil just don’t hold up to butter. Admittedly this is more of a personal preference.

With this in mind I cracked open the new cookbook and noted several key differences. Lowered temperature by 50 degrees, shortening replaced with margarine/butter, a bit more flour, and coating the biscuits in melted butter instead of oil.

I followed this recipe closely and the results were delicious. They were soft and airy with a nice slight crust on the outside and having them warm with my boysenberry sweet tea jelly were absolute heaven. Eating these biscuits was the best I’ve felt all of 2020.

This is why sifting matters, look at that beautifully mixed dough.
These buttery boys. Also don’t shame my last one he was the leftover bit of dough I had.
BEHOLD MY MIGHTY BISCUIT

Moral of the story is, like so many things, to be thorough when working on something and that 70s cookbooks can be disastrous. I could go back and try the original again with some of the noted adjustments but it doesn’t seem worth the trouble. Onto the next recipe then!