Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Quickie Biscuits

(It turns out that writing about what I learned from my Month of Nothing is harder than I thought it would be. Just so much, and hard to articulate it all. In addition, it is election night and I'm addicted to politics and can't pull myself away from the TV. I'll try to get it up tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this recipe which saved me many times during the Month of Nothing.)

I love biscuits. They are my go to when I need something quick to add to meal that really seems to be missing some kind of bread. I pretty much always keep a box of Bisquick in my pantry (actually I pour a box of Bisquick into a Tupperware container in my pantry, but whatever).

When I started my Month of Nothing I figured that I would be making a lot of bread and biscuits to round out my meal. Then I ran out of Bisquick on day number one. How great of planning was that on my part? So I had to come up with an alternative. I turned to my trusty Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I love this book and it has some of my favorite bread recipes. I found a recipe for "Mother's Biscuits" and thought I would try it. Man, I'm glad I did. This recipe is really quick, easy and cheap. I added a few ingredients to make it like the Red Lobster biscuits - cheese and garlic butter.

Here we go:

First, grind your own wheat.

Ok, you don't have to grind your own flour. I do, but only because I'm really trying to add more whole grains to our diet and because I have wheat in my food storage. But not everyone does that and that is fine. This recipe is written for all white flour so I'm sure it's great. Just know that it works with some whole wheat in it also. So let's start over:
First, combine:

2 c. all purpose flour (you can use part whole wheat)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix them all together and then cut in:

2 Tbs. butter (yes, only 2 Tbs., although I usually use a "generous" 2 Tbs.)

You want to cut it in with a pastry cutter (pictured in the photo above) or two knives, or the mixer attachment on your stand mixer. It should look like course cornmeal when you are done. I took a picture of this but you really can't tell what it looks like so I'm not posting it. Email me if you really need to see it!

At this point the original recipe has you add some milk, I'll get to that in a minute, I add 1/2 c to 3/4c. of shredded cheeseDoesn't that look good? Ok, then you mix that all in, so the cheese is coated in the flour mixture.

Then you add: 1 scant cup of milk. That is what the recipe says. I usually use about a cup minus 2 tbs. or so. You just have to kind of see how much you need. It needs to be a soft dough and not terribly stiff. But it needs to not be batter. It should look something like this:Then you drop it on to the cookie sheets. I use a Silpat (silicon baking sheet). This recipe makes about 17 biscuits. We have 6 people in our family and I try really, really hard to get 18 biscuits so that we can all have equal amounts. You can do it, but they all end up really small, so I just do 17 and one of us gets less. I know it sounds ridiculous, but just try it for yourself.

I use this recipe and make drop biscuits, but the recipe calls for rolling it out and cutting it into biscuits. I don't like to fuss with it and besides, when I roll biscuits I always end up with tough biscuits. Unless I want to serve them with jam, which requires them to be rolled so that you can cut them open, I always do drop biscuits.

Put them in the oven and bake them at 425 for 12 to 14 minutes. When they come out, brush them with melted butter that you have mixed with some garlic powder:

Doesn't that look good? Believe me when I tell you, it tastes even better than it looks!

Put them on a plate and step out of the way. I even made these for snacks the other night, and they were gone in seconds.

Try them. Really. They are good. Trust me.



Nancy M. said...

Thanks for sharing! I used to use the Bisquick to make those cheese-garlic biscuits. But, I am trying to cut back, so it's good to know I can make them without the mix!

I have an award for you over on my blog!

Nancy said...

I love those cheese-garlic biscuits at Red Lobster. I'm going to have to try these.

Alison said...

OMG. I own Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads! I completely forgot about it until I read your post. I haven't used that cookbook in years, but I've always wanted to try the cracker and crumpet recipes. Now I'm dying to make biscuits.

That's a great tip about drop biscuits. My rolled biscuits are also always tough, as is my pie crust, which is why I avoid making either. We're having biscuits tonight!

Have you ever tried the cracker recipes, or made your own crackers?