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According to General Mills, Bisquick was invented in 1930 after one of their top sales executives met an innovative train dining car chef on a business trip. After the sales executive complimented the chef on his deliciously fresh biscuits, the dining car chef shared that he used a pre-mixed biscuit batter he created consisting of lard, flour, baking powder and salt. The chef then stored his pre-mixed biscuit batter on ice in his kitchen ahead of time, enabling him to bake fresh biscuits quickly on the train every day. As soon as the sales executive returned from that business trip, he stole the chef's idea and created Bisquick.
Although first promoted for making just biscuits ("90 seconds from package to oven," the slogan read), Bisquick was soon used to prepare a wide variety of baked goods from pizza dough to pancakes to dumplings to snickerdoodle cookies.
One cup of Bisquick can be substituted by a mixture of one cup of flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil or melted butter (or, better, by cutting in 2 1/2 tbsp Crisco or lard).
Bisquick Original contains 4.5 grams of trans fat per cup, and no cholesterol. Trans fats have been linked to heart disease and death. Bisquick HeartSmart contains 0 grams of trans fat per cup (and no cholesterol).
Bisquick also comes in a gluten-free variety which uses rice flour instead of regular flour.