Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Yeah.   I have a thing for a good buttermilk biscuit.   Tender, light, melt in your mouth goodness, especially when it's hot from the oven.  The only thing that can make it better?  garlic and cheese.   I make mine in the food processor.  Heck, the food processor changed my biscuits.  There is nothing better for blending the fat and flour together.  The food processor gives me a perfect, even blend of fat to flour.   It's awesome.  

My basic recipe started with the one from America's Test Kitchen.  They use half cake flour/half all purpose to aproximate the protien content in White Lily flour.  Since most of America can't buy White Lily flour off the shelf of their hometown grocery store, it's a good work around.  (I found it once in the self rising variety.  I almost cried when it was gone.  You Southerners are so lucky.)   ATK also uses butter instead of Crisco as the fat.  I'm good with that because you can't go wrong with butter.  

I did play with the recipe because I wanted to try and make a version of Red Lobster biscuits at home.  That means it had to be a drop biscuit and it had to have garlic and cheese.  Here's what I came up with, and it's a dang near exact if I do say so myself.  

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

1 cup cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t sugar
1/2 baking soda
1/2 salt
1 1/2 t granulated garlic (not garlic powder.  If that's all you've got you'll have to use more to get the same effect.)
1/2 c butter (you can use Crisco here if you're a biscuit purist, but you're missing out.)
1/2 c cheddar cheese
1 c buttermilk  (may need more depending on the consistency of your buttermilk)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (biscuits like it nice and hot!) 

If you're using the food processor, take your butter straight from the fridge and cut it into 1/4 cubes.   That's pieces, not slices.  It takes a bit longer, but you'll get a better biscuit if you do this right.   Put all the dry ingredients into the food processor work bowl and process for about 30 seconds to blend.   Add in the butter and pulse until the butter and flour are combined evenly, should be about 12 times or so.  Dump the flour mix out into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the cheese.  Sharp cheddar is nice here, medium is fine if that's what you've got.  If all you have is mild cheddar, you should go shopping. 

If you don't have a food processor, you will have to use softened butter.  Make sure it's still cool to the touch and just gives a little when you press on it with a finger.  Over softened butter will just make your biscuits greasy.   Cut up the butter into chunks and blend into the flour with either a pastry blender or a fork.  Some people like to use their fingers, but I think that's a process you have to watch someone do to get right.   The flour/butter mix should look like big pieces of sand with every piece of flour coated with fat.  This is how you get light, fluffy biscuits. 

Next stir in the buttermilk.  Do not over mix. Just stir enough for the flour to be moistened.  If your buttermilk is older and has thickened you may need to add a few extra tablespoons one tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency.  The batter should be completely wet and quite sticky but not runny.   Drop biscuits are much softer than standard cut out biscuits.  You should not be able to touch it without getting it all over your fingers much less form it into a ball. 

Drop by 1/4 cup dollops onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven until the biscuits are golden and fully baked inside, about 10-12 minutes.  I like mine just barely done, but feel free to leave yours in an extra minute or so if you want yours more brown.    This recipe makes about a dozen biscuits. 

If you want that shiny, crispy finish like on the Red Lobster biscuits, you need to do an egg wash before you bake.  Whisk one egg white with a couple teaspoons of water.  Brush lightly over the biscuits with a pastry brush (this will also smooth out the dough.)   Bake as usual.   

I like to eat mine with a salad or soup so I can have more biscuits.   More is better.  Trust me.  

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