I all of a sudden got this hankering for a southern biscuit with my bacon and eggs the other day and thought, hey, I’m in the south, the southern end of the big island of Hawaii, so why not make southern biscuits with a Hawaiian twist?
I had a jar of coconut oil and some coconut milk in the refrigerator, so I decided to use them instead of shortening, butter, or lard for the fat and coconut milk instead of buttermilk for the liquid.
Coconut has gotten a bad rap in the past because of its saturated fat content, but that’s because the oils were partially hydrogenated and some got converted into trans fats. Melissa Clark’s article in the New York Times discusses the controversy and clears up some of the thorny issues relating to the healthful benefits of coconut oil.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and makes wonderfully flaky scones and pie crusts and can be creamed with sugar instead of butter for a cake batter.
What surprised me was that I could not detect a specific coconut taste in Hula Biscuits. They are very tender and have a pleasant sweetness without any addition of sugar.
2 cups all-purpose flour, 9 ounces (spooned into the cups and leveled)
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (2 ounces) coconut oil, preferably virgin
¾ cup coconut milk, plus more if needed
Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have ready an ungreased baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Because the coconut oil is solid at room temperature you’ll need to gouge it out of the jar with a spoon. It will come out in pieces of uneven size. Either weigh the 2 ounces or pack the fragments into a ¼ cup measure. Add the solid coconut oil to the dry ingredients and work them in with a pastry blender or your fingertips to make a crumbly mixture.
Shake the can of coconut milk well and measure the ¾ cup. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork to make a thick, wet dough. If dough seems too dry, add more coconut milk in droplets.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and turn to coat evenly with the flour. Knead gently two or three times and pat out to a thickness of ¾-inch. Cut into biscuits with a plain round 2-inch cutter. I didn’t have one, so I used the cap of a cocktail shaker. You can also use the rim of a small drinking glass.
Gather scraps, pat out again, and cut more biscuits. Place the biscuits closely together on the ungreased baking sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. They will have risen about ½ inch.
Serve immediately with lots of butter and jam or jelly. The photo shows a biscuit half with a spoonful of ginger jelly.
Makes 12 to 15 biscuits.