2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup of butter or hard margarine
3/4 to 1 cup milk
Lightly grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375*F.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender. If you don't have a pastry blender, you can use a couple of knives to cut at the butter, or just use your fingers, kind of squishing the flour and butter together until the butter is broken up into little flour covered pieces and the mixture sort of resembles oatmeal.
Add the milk- start with 3/4 cup, and add a bit more if needed, gently folding it into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until it holds together. (*if you use whole wheat flour, it will take more milk than with white flour) Dough should be in a lump together but not sticky. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out to 2 inch thickness. Either cut into circles (or hearts, or shamrocks or Christmas trees...) and place on prepared baking sheet. You can gently gather the scraps together and recut it. OR (as I usually do) just cut the rolled dough into 12 squares and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-25 minutes, until biscuits are risen and golden brown.
If you add too much dough and it's quite sticky, just drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, dividing it into 12 mounds. Bake as indicated until risen and nicely browned.
To make dumplings for stew, add 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups milk to make a soft, sticky dough. Drop by Tablespoons onto hot stew. Cover and let the stew simmer for 15-25 minutes until the tops of the dumplings are firm to the touch. To make dumplings in the Slow Cooker, cover the top of the slow cooker (under the lid) with a clean tea towel. This keeps the condensing steam from dripping back onto the dumplings which keeps them from getting cooked properly on top.
Cheese Biscuits: Add 3/4 to 1 cup of grated cheese with the flour, either before or after you cut in the butter.
Cheese and Bacon Biscuits: Add 3/4 cup of grated cheese and 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon before you add the milk.
Cheese, Bacon and Onion Biscuits: Add 3/4 cup of grated cheese, 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon and 1/3 cup of chopped green onion before you add the milk.
Easy Scones: Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the flour mixture, and increase the butter to 1/4 cup. Divide the dough in half, after the milk is mixed in, and shape it into two 6 inch circles. Score the circles with a knife, cutting each into 6ths. Brush the tops and sides with a little milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake as directed for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.