Monday, April 6, 2015

Make a Mix Monday: Copycat Bisquick Recipes - Butter VS. Crisco (Vegetable Shortening)

 My mother didn't bake much when I was a child, but when she did, it was usually with Bisquick.  Bisquick waffles, Bisquick "impossible pies", Bisquick sausage cheese balls, you get the picture.  They boast: "Adding Bisquick baking mix to your pantry gives you some quick options. Dinners. Desserts. Egg bakes. Pancakes and waffles. Bisquick is part of the recipe."  That idea sure appealed to many people, but now, being a little more informed about what goes into my meals, I wanted to one, make the copycat Bisquick mix, and two make one with Crisco, and one with unsalted butter.

Since there are so many things that one can make with Bisquick I decided the best way to make a taste difference was to make biscuits.  I mean sausage cheese balls are just delicious whether made with shortening-based biscuit mix or butter-based biscuit mix.  Same goes for the impossible pies - scrumptious!

Before I did this trial, I thought 'I am going to love the butter biscuits better than the Crisco biscuits!' Because I had been hearing not-so-good things about shortening. 

In fact, I read this:  "Shortening is basically a fat that is semisolid at room temperature and can be used for baking. It provides an amazing texture to baked foods – making light and fluffy breads, biscuits, and rolls. You don’t get the same mouthfeel with liquid oil.
Historically, shortening meant lard. But then hydrogenation was invented, and vegetable oils, bombarded with hydrogen atoms suddenly became semisolid at room temperature too. They were cheaper than lard, and became very popular. Crisco, anyone?
Unfortunately, the side effect of hydrogenation is the creation of trans-fatty acids, which are even worse for health than saturated fats of butter and lard."

 Trans-fatty acids?!  Ugh!  From the Mayo Clinic: "Trans fat raises your LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowers your HDL ("good") (HDL) cholesterol."  What?  All this time, my mother, who has high cholesterol which three of us kids inherited as well, has been trying to lower her cholesterol while unknowingly baking with things that can cause high cholesterol?!

"Most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life.

"The manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products, including:
  • Baked goods. Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.
  • Snacks. Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavor the popcorn.
  • Fried food. Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.
  • Refrigerator dough. Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.
  • Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils." also from the Mayo Clinic

Just a few more reasons to make your own mixes people!
And, yes, needless to say, I wanted that butter biscuit to taste the best!  
Butter biscuits
Crisco biscuit

 The biscuit on the left is the Crisco mix and the one on the right the Butter mix.  Both were baked for 10 minutes, and I rolled them as close to the same width as possible.  The Crisco ones did end up flakier, fluffier, and, to me, tastier.  But I grew up on them, so for nostalgia, I'm guessing that it is reminiscent of easier days when meals were hot and ready most of the time. 
The inside of the two biscuits.  The Crisco ones were more moist, the butter ones, drier.  Even with that said, I think I want to figure out how to make the butter mix biscuits moister and fluffier.  OR, maybe I'll start trying to make a mix with butter and lard. That just sounds crazy, but it was used for ages before vegetable shortening and it isn't hydrogenated.   Also, sometimes with baking, it's in the way you mix - like only use a wooden spoon, etc.  That sound crazy too, I know, but I have a cookie recipe from waay back and that is what it says.  When I give the recipe to others, most don't follow the recipe and just throw everything into their KitchenAid and the cookies don't turn out.  Then I tell them to use a wooden spoon to mix and they think I'm crazy - until it works for them too.  So, perhaps mixing it in a different way could make them moister and fluffier.

Which would you use?  Crisco (vegetable shortening) or butter? 

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