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YOU ASKED FOR IT

I'd like a nice fluffy biscuit recipe.

Mary Rice, Hudson

Jeanette Williams of Seminole sent in three biscuit recipes for me to try. I started with the Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits to see just how fluffy they would be. Let me start by saying I've made a lot of biscuits in my time and have never really found the "just right" recipe of a really fluffy, Bob Evan's- or Cracker Barrel-type biscuit. This recipe makes that biscuit. They rise nice and high and the inside is a soft, fluffy texture. They are not doughy or hard, they are just right. Jeanette suggests using Martha White self-rising flour as an alternative but I prefer White Lily. That's totally a personal preference. Self-rising flour already has leavening. By adding additional leavening, the biscuits get a better rise.

If you're not a seasoned biscuitmaker, there are a few things you should know:

- Mixing the buttermilk into the flour with a fork helps keep the mixture light.

- Flour your board or counter, put the dough on the flour and flour the dough moderately. Not too much. Flour your hands.

- The dough will, and should, be sticky. Knead until the stickiness goes away, adding more flour in small amounts. I prefer to pat the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness rather than roll it. Again, personal preference.

- A metal biscuit cutter is the best utensil to use. Press down and pull up. Do not twist. Twisting seals the sides and keeps the biscuits from rising to their full potential as does using a glass, because it's not sharp enough to make a clean cut.

- When they come out of the oven, brush with melted butter. Serve with your favorite stew, fried chicken or any suitable meal. They reheat well the next day for sausage and egg biscuits, too.

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Recipe request

Sue Conrad of North Redington Beach is looking for a recipe she lost for baked chicken with a topping of deviled ham, bread crumbs and possibly mustard. Sue says it came from Better Homes and Gardens in the 1960s. She hopes someone has the recipe to share. Mary Ellen Gotto of Trinity lost her recipe for a meatloaf that included a pound of fresh mushrooms and onions along with veal in the ground meat.

Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, P.O. Box 1159, Crystal Beach, FL 34681 or email youaskedforit@tampabay.rr.com. Please include your name, city and phone number. Phone numbers will not be published.

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MODERATE

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

3-1/2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily)

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Melted butter for brushing top of biscuits

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or large fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk with a fork until a soft dough forms and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured board and kneed lightly, 5 to 10 times, or just until smooth and no longer sticky. Roll or pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 2-inch round cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet or large brownie pan, with sides touching.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly brown. Brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm.

Makes about 24 biscuits (or 15 if using a 2-1/2-inch cutter).

Source: Jeanette Williams of Seminole

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