Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Here A Biscuit, There A Biscuit

When I was a kid, my mom (usually) only used bad words for three situations: when she was trying to start our Chevy Bel Air station wagon (ca. 1967), as it had a cold engine even if it were 100 degrees outside; when she tried to get a cake out of a Bundt pan in one piece; and when she had to open canned biscuits by banging them repeatedly on the edge of the counter.

Fortunately, fuel injection came along and cars now start with the turn of the key, cooking sprays like Pam are a vast improvement over the old greasing and flouring method of preparing a Bundt pan, and canned biscuit containers got much easier to open.

I've never been a huge fan of canned biscuits baked as-is, but my mom would bake them for breakfast sometimes (my dad liked them; I preferred homemade biscuits, which meant made with Bisquick, but still way tastier than canned). At some point in the 1980s, though, I learned about monkey bread, which is made with canned biscuits and butter and cinnamon and sugar and is delicious, and I usually kept a couple of cans in my refrigerator for when the monkey bread mood struck.

After I graduated from college, I lived in a little duplex that did not come furnished with a refrigerator. Fortunately, my parents had recently bought a new fridge and gave me their old one. By "old" I mean the kind with one door, freezer on top, and had to be defrosted, which I would do when the ice would get so bad the freezer door would no longer close. The refrigerator served me well, but at some point, the seal around the door needed to be replaced, so my parents came to visit and to help me put on a new seal.

It looked like this except it was white.
The blue is way cooler.

I've never taken a close look at the seal on my current refrigerator to see how it is attached, but the seal on the early 1960s model in my kitchen was screwed on with about 5,000 little screws, more or less. In order to take the screws off, remove the old seal, and screw a new one back on, the door had to be held steady; this is where my mom came in. She sat on the kitchen floor with her back against the cabinets and held the door. It probably took my dad and me an hour to get all those screws removed, fit the new seal around the door, and replace all the screws, and that was with two of us doing it, as my mom sat there with the door about a foot away from her face the entire time and talked to us from behind the door.

I was wearing a sundress that had an open back (it was black with little flowers on it and I got it at Foxmoor Casuals at the mall and I loved it), and I was on the floor, on my knees and bent over so that I could put in the screws along the very bottom of the door. My dad was sitting next to me, and my mom was patiently sitting behind the door, holding it firmly, when there was an explosion. I felt something wet hit my bare back, and I screamed and collapsed onto the floor, convinced I had been shot. There was the sound of wet plops on the floor around me, and my mom was shouting, "What happened?! What happened?!" from her prison behind the door. 

After a pause my dad started laughing, and when I raised up, the something wet fell off my back and landed on the floor. It was biscuit. A canned biscuit. From a can that was in the door of the refrigerator, a door that had been open for an hour. It joined the other biscuits that had rained down and plop, plop, plopped to the floor immediately after the explosion. Turns out I didn't get shot after all....

I was not so badly scarred by the incident that I wouldn't use canned biscuits, but I certainly learned not to store them in the door, especially since they pop open much easier now than they did when I was shot by a whole can of them. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

When my daughter was home from college for Christmas break last month, she decided she wanted monkey bread, and she wanted it badly enough that she went to the store and bought canned biscuits WITH HER OWN MONEY, but time got away from us and I never made them and the canned biscuits languished in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (what, you think we keep VEGETABLES in there?!). She came home this weekend, and I have to say I made THE BEST monkey bread ever by actually using a recipe. I've always made it by cutting canned biscuits into quarters, dipping each piece in melted butter and rolling in a cinnamon and sugar mixture, and then baking the whole lot. Come to find out, there are real recipes for the stuff (thank you, Google), and I used the first one I came to when I searched (thank you, Pillsbury, even though I used cheap biscuits and not your fancy Grands).

Here's the recipe:

3 cans of biscuits (mine were Great Value)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. butter or margerine, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray 12-cup fluted tube pan (that means my mom's nemesis, the Bundt pan) with cooking spray.

In a large plastic food storage bag, mix sugar and cinnamon. Cut biscuits into quarters and drop into bag and shake to coat (I did this one can at a time). Place evenly in pan. Melt butter and stir in brown sugar. Pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan for 10 minutes (I didn't) and invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm (but the leftover ones tasted mighty fine when they were stone cold).

It looked like this:

Look, Mama! It didn't stick!

I recommend you make these and make them soon.

If you would like to read further Biscuit Adventures with Dyanne, please go here and read "That One Time My Brother Really Bugged Me."


  1. I always wondered what monkey bread was and why so much fuss about it. Now I know.
    My sister has a fear of canned biscuits - they scare her every single time.
    Great story. xo

    1. Monkey bread is delicious! You should make some soon.
      Canned biscuit used to have to be beaten against the edge of the counter top to get them to open, and they were LOUD when they popped. Your sister wouldn't have survived it!
      Thanks :)

  2. HILARIOUS! I had wonderful images of all this happening, and bless your mom for talking to the door for an hour.

    Your biscuits are like our scones, I think, which I am sure I could make with margarine, so I am certain I could veganise this recipe... because it sounds AMAZING

    1. All we could see of my mom all that time was her feet!

      You can definitely make this with margarine. Let me know if you try it!

  3. This is hilarious, as well as mouth-watering. I haven't gotten those cans since our children entered the developmental stages of first vegetarianism and then counting calories (unless in the form of alcohol), but used to make mini pigs in blankets with them. Sometimes a person just needs to eat delicious junk!

    Lorrie at www.shrinkrapped.com

    1. Biscuits are comfort food, especially when dipped in butter and sugar and cinnamon. My kids liked it when I rolled canned biscuits flat, baked them, then topped them with sloppy joe meat and cheese. More comfort food!

  4. What a fun story and great memory. I've never made monkey break myself but it does seem to be extremely popular. I might have to give it a try!


    1. I thought monkey bread was good before; finding this recipe is LIFE CHANGING :)