beaten biscuits are small and round in shape, about 1 cm (0.5") thick, with a crisp, short texture, and slightly cracked sides. A speciality of the southern states of the USA, they are an exception to the general N. American habit of using the word ‘biscuit’ to indicate a soft product similar to a British scone.
To make beaten biscuits, flour, salt, and a little lard are mixed to a stiff dough with milk and water (or whole milk, for a richer result). Then the dough is beaten with a rolling pin for half an hour or more, until it blisters. It is then rolled, cut into rounds or squares (traditionally by a cutter which presses six prongs into the centre of the biscuit as it cuts). They are baked until pale brown on the outside, but should remain white within. Bernard Clayton Jr. (1973) commented that: ‘The true mark of the beaten biscuit buff is splitting the biscuit with the tines of a fork. Never the knife or fingers.’