On Cooking Southern: Canned Biscuit and Roll Dough Recipes

Apple dumplings.

Apple dumplings.

Slow your roll but make sure not to tump over.

By Laurie Triplette

ldtriplette@aol.com

SOUTHERNISM OF THE WEEK

Tump: To turn something over forcefully, as in dumping. “Don’t you dare tump that sugar caster onto the red holiday tablecloth!”

CANNED BISCUIT AND ROLL DOUGH RECIPES

Self-respecting old-style Southern cooks almost never admit to using pre-made components for preparing a family meal. But in fact, most of us use culinary short cuts regularly, and especially during the holidays when our cook-time is better spent creating legendary coconut cakes and chocolate buttermilk pies and cheese straws and crawfish dressing and pecan-crusted rack of lamb.

Numerous commercially packaged products are designed to help us through these difficult supper-time periods. We all know what they are: Frozen cooked meats. Canned soup. Bags of stuffing mix. Salad fixings. Cookie, candy and cake mixes. Boxed mac’n cheese. . . and the most versatile of them all — canned biscuit, pizza and roll dough.

Canned refrigerator biscuits came before canned refrigerator rolls. They have an interesting scientific history — invented in 1930 in Louisville, KY by Lively B. Willoughby, who sought a way to extend the refrigerated life of dough. The shelf life of Willoughby’s original canned refrigerator biscuits was two weeks. Today it is two to three months. Willoughby held the patent through1948, when Ballard & Ballard took it over. Pillsbury Mills acquired the patent in 1951, and the rest, as they say, is history. Pillsbury and its competitors now offer more than 80 different types of canned doughs.

An entire food-world culture has sprung up around the product, as millions of cooks have devised hundreds of creative uses for the canned dough. The Old Bride keeps canned biscuits in the fridge for emergencies. I’ve listed a handful of the recipes I use below, along with my Christmas season musical accompaniment, The Twelve Days of Biscuits. MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y’ALL!

LAURIE’S TWELVE DAYS OF BISCUITS

(Sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

A nut-crusted monkey bread

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Eight hot ham pockets

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Nine Natchez meat pies

Eight hot ham pockets

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Ten sausage muffins

Nine Natchez meat pies

Eight hot ham pockets

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Eleven turkey empanadas

Ten sausage muffins

Nine Natchez meat pies

Eight hot ham pockets

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

12 chicken pot pies

Eleven turkey empanadas

Ten sausage muffins

Nine Natchez meat pies

Eight hot ham pockets

Seven saucy pizzas

Six doughnut holes

Five apple dumplings

Four fried peach pies

Three cheese blintzes

Two sugar cakes

And a nut-crusted monkey bread.

CHICKEN BISCUIT CASSEROLE

chickenpie-DSCN6042I usually avoid canned soup, but we Methodists tend to backslide when in a hurry. The idea here is to whip up a quick and easy dinner during the holidays.

2 to 3 c leftover grocery store roasted chicken

1 can heart healthy cream of chicken soup

1/4 c milk

2/3 c frozen green peas

6-oz jar of sliced mushrooms, drained

2 T bacon pieces

2 T mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

7.5-oz can of 10 regular biscuits

1/2 c grated sharp cheddar

Chop chicken. Mix with soup, milk, peas, mushrooms and mayo/yogurt. Add black pepper and crumbled pieces of bacon. Pour into 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly across the top. Stretch or roll out 9 of the biscuits and position in three rows over the chicken. Bake at 375˚F for approximately 20-25 minutes. Serve over rice with a tossed salad. VARIATION: peel the biscuits in half and line the bottom of the pan with one set of biscuit halves.

SHORT-CUT NATCHEZ BEEF PIES

natchezmeatpie-DSCN6026 (1)The meat filling starts off like sloppy joe filling. Add Natchez meat pie spices such as Tony’s Creole seasoning and bell pepper, as desired.

1 to 2 lb ground beef

1 stick butter

1 white onion, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/4 c chopped green pepper, optional

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 c ketchup

1 tsp Creole seasoning

8 large buttermilk home-style biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)

4 tsp cream cheese

Melted butter

2 T grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp garlic salt

Brown the onion, garlic and bell pepper in butter. Add ground beef, and season with salt and pepper. Stir and break up the meat until browned. Add ketchup and simmer until the meat cooks down. Drain the filling. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease a large-cup muffin pan or the bottoms and sides of 4-inch mini-tart pans or extra-large muffin tin(s). Combine Parmesan and garlic salt and set aside.

Open can of biscuits and split each biscuit horizontally into two equal circles. Roll out and position one circle in each tart pan, pushing up about 1/4 inch up the sides. Spoon a tablespoon of drained filling into the center and top with about 1/2 tsp of cream cheese. Cover with other half of dough. Pinch the dough sides together to seal. Brush melted butter across the tops. Sprinkle with mixture of Parmesan and garlic salt. Place tart pans on a cookie sheet (or muffin direct) on middle rack and bake about 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

hampockets-DSCN6050HAM POCKETS

7.5 oz can of refrigerator biscuits

5-6 slices of deli ham, cut on #1, chopped fine

1 T softened butter

Dijon mustard

Apricot preserves

1/4 c grated Baby Swiss cheese

2 (1/8-inch-thick) slices of white onion, minced

3 T butter, melted

Grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Stretch each biscuit into a flattened circle on waxed paper. Spread a small amount of the softened butter over the top of each, followed by a small amount of Dijon. Place about 1/8 tsp of apricot preserves in the center of each biscuit, and sprinkle in layers small amounts of minced onion, chopped ham, and Baby Swiss cheese. Pull edges of each biscuit and fold one side over the other, stretching the dough as needed to be able to pinch the edges sealed. Drizzle melted butter on each folded biscuit and on the waxed paper, turning each folded biscuit to butter all over both sides. Place the biscuit pockets in a small baking pan, edges almost touching. Sprinkle a small amount of grated cheddar over center top of each pocket. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

APPLE DUMPLINGS

10-pc can of refrigerator biscuits

5 tart apples, peeled and sliced into halves, quarters, or eighths, depending on size of biscuits and apples

1 stick (1/2 c) butter

1 c brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 to 1 c water

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Butter the bottom of a 7-by-9-inch (or 8-inch) pan. Stretch biscuits around apple slices and pinch edges closed. Place in rows in buttered 8-inch or 7-by-9-inch pan. Heat just to boiling the remaining ingredients and pour over the dumplings. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot with a dollop of whipped cream.

SHORTCUT SUGAR CAKE

sugarcake-DSCN6084This delicious faux sugar cake recipe is popular in the North Carolina Piedmont, where the genuine Moravian sugar cake flourishes. Recipe thanks go to Sharon Page of Greensboro, NC, one of The Old Bride’s Salem College classmates who Groved with us at the Arkansas game in November.

2 cans of regular crescent rolls

1 c confectioner’s sugar

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c light brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 c) melted butter

Cinnamon sugar (about 4 to 5 tsp)

9 –by-13-inch Pyrex dish

Grease bottom of pan with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll one can of crescent rolls and spread as a continuous sheet to line bottom of pan. As dough warms up, it becomes more pliable so you can spread it across the whole pan, keeping the triangles in the dough together.

Mix confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese and vanilla in medium speed until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly over first layer of crescent rolls. Unroll second can of crescent rolls and spread over the cream cheese mixture. Press index fingers into the dough on this layer at regular intervals to give it the dimpled “sugar cake” appearance.

Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly across the top. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the brown sugar. Pour melted butter over the top of the brown sugar. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove to rack to cool slightly before cutting into squares. Serve immediately.

Laurie Triplette is a writer, historian, and accredited appraiser of fine arts, dedicated to preserving Southern culture and foodways. Author of the award-winning community family cookbook GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, and editor of ZEBRA TALES (Tailgating Recipes from the Ladies of the NFLRA), Triplette is a member of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ),Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA)  and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SOFAB). Check out the GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’ web site: www.tripleheartpress.com and follow Laurie’s food adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@LaurieTriplette).

Get you some sugar this holiday season with GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, Laurie Triplette’s award-winning family cookbook. From ‘One Old Southern Bride’ to another, give the The Secret Lexicon of Southernness this Christmas. 

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