Jul 10, 2010

Quick and Easy Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

If you've ever eaten at a Red Lobster or other seafood restaurant (at least here in the Midwest) you're probably familiar with their savory garlic cheddar biscuits. Brushed with an herb garlic butter, fluffy and light, with every bite melting in your mouth. The perfect accompaniment to any meal. While dining out, I have to fight for my share when they bring the basket to the table, as they are a FAV of my beloved hubby. I usually "let" him have the last one, only because I'm smarter and know that I'll be filling up on my main seafood course. (sneaky sneaky) Through trial and error I was able to finally come up with (what I think is) an exact replica. These have been a family favorite for years now. Best of all, this recipe makes plenty, so we don't have to fight over the last one. ;) 

Now, I take pride in the fact that I'm a baker and do both yeast and quick breads from scratch. However, there are exceptions to my own "rules", and this recipe is one of them. Although I don't usually rely on Bisquick, it does have a place in my pantry and is my "go to" box when I'm in a hurry and need to whip up a "really quick"-quick bread. Even still, I can't leave well enough alone and I HAVE to tweak even the simplest recipe on the box: the biscuits. 

Normally, I would just give you the recipe with a couple of pics for something so (seemingly) simple. However, I have daughters and nieces that are on their own now and learning how to cook and bake. It is great though, and I'm honored that I'm becoming the "go-to" person for the fam. Not long ago, I was depressed and blogged about none of my go-to people being around anymore. But ya know what? I kinda like this side of the fence kitchen. It keeps me on my toes and helps me to NOT take the simple things/methods for granted. Right? So I've decided to share the whole nine yards of the biscuit making process. 

Easy Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

3 C Bisquick baking mix (plus more for kneading)
1 C milk (may need a few tablespoons more)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (I use Mexican Blend)
½ stick salted butter
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried parsley

First and foremost, position a rack in the middle of the oven. (one notch up is ok, but NOT on the top rack) Preheat oven to 425F. The oven should be very hot, this helps the biscuits to rise fast, get fluffy and stay more moist on the inside. Next, assemble the ingredients and spray a baking sheet with a non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with shortening. 
In a small cup or bowl, cube the butter, add the minced garlic and parsley. Melt in microwave only for about 30 seconds, and stir. Heat more if needed, but only until butter is just barely melted. Set aside in a warm place. 

In a large bowl, add the baking mix then add the shredded cheese and stir with a large rubber spatula until all the cheese is coated. Sprinkle in the garlic powder and stir again. Make a "well" in the middle of the dry mix and pour in 1 C milk. Starting in the middle and taking dry mix from the sides as you go, quickly stir until all of the dry mix is just moistened and everything is incorporated. You don't want to stir too much or your dough will be too tough. 

 The dough ball will quickly come together. At this point, and while it's in the bowl, if it still feels too dry you can add in a couple more tablespoons of milk. In the picture below, it's still looks just just a tad bit too sticky. If this is the case, let it rest for a few minutes in the bowl while you prepare the working surface.  

Liberally sprinkle on some more of the Bisquick mix onto a wooden cutting board or a counter top. Leave some mix in a measuring cup in case you need more. "Dust" the cutter by swirling it around on the board. This will help keep the biscuits from sticking to the cutter. Alternately, use a drinking cup or glass to cut them.  Next, begin lightly kneading the dough with your hands (closed fingers). Unlike kneading bread with your palms of your hands and being all aggressive, you only need to gently fold in and knead some of the mix into the dough. Knead a few times (maybe 3 or 4 folds?) and add in only enough mix until it is easy to touch on the top without sticking to your finger. If you knead too much, your biscuits will be dry and tough.

If your dough sticks to the surface you can use a bench scraper to scrape it up and move it over, then sprinkle down more dry mix so that when you cut the biscuits don't stick. Pat out to about ¾- 1” thick. I "pat" out the dough as opposed to "rolling out with a rolling pin" because it helps prevent getting the dough too overworked and tough, or sticking to the board, or for the simple fact it's quicker and easier. 

Now begin cutting out the biscuits. As you can see in the pic below, there is a little dry mix where the cut out biscuit was, and yet, on the sides of the cut biscuit, it's just a tad bit sticky. This is a good thing. It means that the middle isn't too dry! Once you have them all cut out, gather up the scraps and gently press together (no need to knead again) Pat and cut out the last biscuit or two. You should have 10-12 biscuits (ok, I get 12 exactly every time  LOL)

Place the biscuits on the baking sheet, so that they are about 1/2-1" apart. Using a pastry brush, brush biscuits generously with the garlic butter and bake (you did preheat the oven , right?) for about 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Do not open the oven to check on them for at least 12 minutes. The biscuits need extreme heat especially in the first ten minutes to rise fast and quick. (something called "bursting") Every time you open the oven door, the temperature of the oven can drop a good 10-15 degrees, which doesn't seem like a lot, but in bread making it can make a huge difference.

Once they are golden brown remove from oven and brush with remaining butter. Cover with a towel to keep moist. [drum roll] Waaah-la! Oh how I wish the shot of me opening the biscuit with the hot melted cheddar cheese stringing along would have turned out. But hey, I'm NOT Houdini....and I only have two hands (sigh) Next time I'm dragging out the tripod!

Oh, one more thing.....I know this recipe makes a LOT and you might not be cooking for a family of 5 like I've had to. But go ahead and make the whole batch, you can wrap the leftovers in plastic wrap then place in a zip lock bag and freeze. Just take out what you need for a meal, place them on a baking sheet and cover with a towel until they are thawed. (about an hour) Then pop into a hot (375F) oven for a couple of minutes just until heated. 

Now for my next trick.......
Oh, you'll have to stay tuned, because in addition to having these for supper....I'm making something special with them for breakfast in the morning! Wooohoooo!


Culinary Alchemist said...

Ah HA!!! It's the Mexican cheese mix! I tried something similar with just shredded cheddar and it just doesn't cut it... This is SO awesome. YOU ROCK! And I can't wait to see what your gonna do for breakfast...

Danielle said...

YUM!! Thats so cool that you're the go to person :). Its that bittersweet feeling of the passing of the torch