Skillet cookies are flourless sweet treats cooked on the stovetop and then cut or molded into serving-sized pieces. Standard ingredients include dried fruit, butter, sugar, eggs, nuts, puffed rice cereal, and flavorings such as vanilla. Butter, fruit, sugar, and eggs cook together until thick, and the other ingredients are stirred in off the heat. The mixture is then patted out in a buttered pan and cut into squares or rolled into balls. It’s common to roll ball-shaped skillet cookies in shredded sweetened coconut to keep them from sticking together. A dusting of powdered sugar also reduces stickiness.
Skillet cookies are popular all over the U.S., but particularly suit Montana’s outdoorsy, no-fuss lifestyle. They’re quick to make, and relatively nutritious for a cookie. Since they don’t require an oven, they can be made over a campfire. Similar recipes were probably popular with early settlers who didn’t yet have complete kitchens.
Buttermilk biscuits are soft, serving-sized rounds of unyeasted bread. Flour, baking powder, and baking soda are cut with butter as for pie pastry. Enough buttermilk is added to make a soft to just-rollable dough. Biscuits bake on a buttered baking sheet, either dropped by spoonfuls onto the sheet or rolled out to about an inch (2.5 cm) thick, cut with a round cookie cutter, and transferred to the baking sheet. They bake quickly and are usually served warm. Buttermilk biscuits are a common breakfast food with butter, jam, or honey or alongside sausages and eggs. They can also serve as a side dish instead of bread with almost any meal.
Montana cooks favor simplicity and readily available ingredients, so buttermilk biscuits have been a standard since settlers arrived. Wheat and dairy both thrive in Montana, so the main ingredients are always there. Buttermilk biscuits are also fast and easy to make.
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