This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Specialty of Virginia and adjoining states. A trade journal, remarking upon the difficulty of striking anything new in the biscuit line, says: "The widow of a well-known Presbyterian divine has had a bright, original idea, and is now making a tidy little fortune out of what are called beaten biscuits. These biscuits are not exactly novel; they are just such dainty cakes as the lady, in more prosperous and happier times, was accustomed to prepare with her own domestic appliances and dignify with the appellation 'home-baked.' The dough seems to have been 'beaten' or whipped up till the biscuits turned out as white as snow, with a delicious golden crust. Many of the wonderfully clever old negress cooks in Tennessee and Kentucky houses, with their black but deft fingers, prepared just such biscuits with acrispness, a color and a flavor that fairly deserved the epithet 'divine.' Mrs. Pratt's beaten biscuits are, however, now all the rage in the latitude and longitude of Louisville." These biscuits are in reality a hot cracker; the dough has the same ingredients in it as ordinary soft biscuits, but not so much powder, and needs must be made up with milk.
The special quality is attained by pounding the lump of dough with a wooden maul; a biscuit break would do the same.