The story goes that these biscuits got their name from the fact that they are about the size of a cat’s head. The original recipe directs you to “scoop” the dough out of the mixing bowl and into the cooking vessel, rather than cutting the dough with a biscuit cutter, jelly jar, or old tuna fish can. As you know, with most biscuits you roll the dough out into a somewhat flat shape, cut ‘em out and plop ‘em in the baking pan. With this first recipe, you treat them like drop cookies! More ways than one to skin a cat or make a cat head biscuit!
Country Home Cooking Cat Head Biscuits
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and softened
4 tablespoons shortening, cut into small pieces and softened
1 ¼ cups of buttermilk
Whisk all dry ingredients togetherAdd butter and shortening and work with your fingers to get it to cornmeal consistency
Add enough buttermilk to get the mixture totally combined
Set oven to 425 degrees
Spray a 9 inch cake pan (or 8-10 inch cast iron skillet) with cooking oil
Using a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop), dip out 6 scoops of dough and place in cake pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to sit, in the baking pan, for 10 minutes, and the serve ‘em up!
Since there were a lot of ingredients and steps required to get to the final product using this first recipe, I decided to search the internet and see if I could find a more “practical” way of making these biscuits. Sure enough:
Mississippi Delta Cat Head Biscuits
Note: These biscuits are baked at 350 degrees!
1 1/8th cups self-rising flour (1/8th cup is two tablespoons)
2/3rds cup buttermilk (you can use plain milk, but they’re not as good!)
1/8th cup bacon drippings (you can use cooking oil, but they’re not as good!)
Blend above ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Put a hand full of flour down on your work surface and dump the blended flour mix onto the floured surface.
Take a bit of oil/bacon drippings and thoroughly grease an 8 or 10 inch cast iron skillet (a pie pan will work, but it’s not as good!) Set your oven for 350 degrees, and put the greased skillet in the oven to pre-heat.
Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, rolling it around in the flour so it’s easy to work.
Cut the resulting dough ball into four equal pieces and roll them (gently!) into balls.
Remove the skillet from the oven and place the four pieces of dough in the skillet, evenly spaced.
Take a teaspoon and place a small amount of oil or bacon drippings on top of each piece, pressing down lightly to form a small depression on each one.
Bake for 25 minutes; then switch to “Broil” and toast them for 1 or 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
You can cut the original dough ball into 8 pieces instead of 4 to get a larger number of smaller biscuits. I tried this and it worked out just fine. You can also double the recipe; just bake them for 30 minutes before you brown them.
I think you’ll find that this approach to making cat head biscuits much easier than the original recipe, and the results are every bit as good.As a variation on both recipes, you can add a ½ cup lightly browned bacon bits and a ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese to the mix, right before you begin to shape the biscuits.