Baking Powder Biscuits from the White House Cookbook

Here is the original recipe:

Two pints of flour, butter the size of an egg, three heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder and one teaspoonful of salt; make a soft dough of sweet milk, knead as little as possible, cut out with the usual biscuit-cutter and bake in rather a quick oven.

(I love that last part: ‘bake in a rather quick oven’!)  Here’s the modern translation:

Serves: 6

Prep time: One hour


  • 4 cups flour, and more for patting out the dough
  • 2 cups cream or milk (we did it both ways and the cream makes the biscuit a bit richer)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Whisk together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender, until mixture looks coarse and crumb-y.
  3. Pour in cream and fold into the mixture until a wet dough forms.

    WH Cookbook and Giveaway

  4. Turn out the dough onto a flour-covered board and pat out dough to 1/and ½ inches high.
  5. Using the cutter of your choice (our was 4 inches in diameter), cut out biscuits and place on baking sheet, two inches apart.  (They will grow in the oven.)WH Cookbook and Giveaway
  6. Bake 25 minutes.  Serve while still warm.  Especially good with honey.WH Cookbook and Giveaway

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