Since the weather has turned dank and chill, not to mention soggy, my thoughts turn once again to baking. I know, I know—we'll probably get a blazing Indian summer any time now, but I'll sneak this in while I can.
An inglenook is a nook on either side of a large open fireplace—a cozy place to sit and keep warm. I am not responsible for the odd spelling in this recipe, because it originated at the Ingleneuk Tea House in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a treasured local establishment that the same family operated for over 80 years. Alas, it is no more: the restaurant, which had grown substantially since its founding, was destroyed by fire in 2000. The structure survived but was returned to its original purpose as a single-family home. I lived two blocks down the street from it, and enjoyed its food more than once, as did generations of Swarthmoreans (including James Michener, when he attended Swarthmore College).
Meals at the Ingleneuk were served family style, and featured hearty comfort foods. Only a few of its recipes have survived, including one for creamed spinach, which for some reason I've never understood my daughter really liked. The other is this biscuit recipe. The dough is definitely biscuit-like, but it's nudged toward sticky-bun status by the rich filling. These are definitely best when served quickly, just out of the oven; diners at the restaurant used to fight for them when the servers brought out a new tray.
Ingleneuk Tea House Butterscotch Biscuits
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 Tblsp salted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Gradually beat in enough milk to form a dough firm enough to roll.
In another bowl, mix brown sugar with melted butter until sugar is uniformly moist but not runny.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle 8 in. wide and 1/4 in thick (the thinner the dough, the more "spirals" you'll get). Spread the sugar mixture over the dough.
Cut the dough in half lengthwise to form two 4 inch strips. Lightly roll up each half. Cut each roll into 1/2 in slices (you should get 4-5 from each piece) and place the slices in a well-greased 9x9 baking pan. (Note: you'll have to squish the slices in—it will look untidy.)
Bake in a preheated oven until the top is lightly browned, about 20 min.
Remove pan from oven. Let stand for 5 minutes, then turn over onto another greased pan or serving plate (or you can serve them directly from the pan—nobody wants to wait!). Eat while still warm.