I've wanted to make authentic beaten biscuits for ages but just never took the time. It was a perfect, snowy day at the cottage which provided me the time and patience to try these antique biscuits. As Molly says, these are NOT the biscuits that you get at KFC or Pillsbury; they taste like Carr's Water Biscuits but are slightly softer and puffier. I made two batches: the 1st batch the true "beaten" way: mixed everything in a bowl, kneaded it, then placed the dough on the counter and beat it with a wooden ladle for 25 minutes. Never having made these before, I had no idea what the dough should look or feel like, but it felt "correct", so I cut them out and baked them for the 30 minutes at 350. They turned out flawlessly: a pale ivory colour and perfect texture--a soft cracker. The 2nd batch that I made, I thought like a "modern" person and made the batch in my food processor: I added the dry ingredients and butter in the bowl and whirled it around for 5 minutes. After that time, I slowly poured the milk into the bowl, and 1 tablespoon more, and it formed a ball instantly. Stopped machine, took out the dough and it felt identical to the hand beaten version: soft, velvety and pliable. I used a 2" biscuit cutter; this recipe doesn't list what size to use (original recipe never listed it in the book). I am so glad that I made these both ways and will continue to make them in the future as they were so tasty and fun to create. I can see why they are a Kentucky tradition!
I made this recipe with my kids as part of a homeschool project, and it was a real hit (no pun intended!). We took a hybrid approach to the beating- 15 minutes by hand and a few minutes in the food processor. The finished product was tasty and unusual. I suspect my family will be asking to make this recipe again. Thanks so much.