Girl Versus Dough

Round Thirty — Cheddar Biscuits

Cheddar Biscuits

As promised, mama’s back on her home turf. And it feels good to be home. No, I didn’t kiss the hypothetical ground of my blog, but I did celebrate. With lard.

OK, not lard, literally, but essentially its relatives. Shortening, anyone? Cheddar cheese? Butter? You bet, baby — all three in one fluffy biscuit. Butter inside and butter on top. Gooey yellow cheddar and garlicky goodness. I’m not promoting a diet strictly of the biscuit kind, but you may want to cut out whatever else you were planning to eat today once you bite into one of these biscuits. Though you’ve had them before.

“What do you mean, I’ve had them before?” you ask. Ever been to Red Lobster (if not, get thee out from under that rock!)? If you have, you’ve undoubtedly scarfed down a Cheddar Bay Biscuit (or two, or three… my my, save some room for your Admiral’s Feast!). I was planning to make a side dish to lasagna for a co-worker who’s recovering from surgery, and after sifting through the pages of my heap of Food Network magazines, I found this little copycat, gasped, and thought, “These must be made.” And the rest is history (as seen below).

The saddest part about this whole operation is, I don’t know what these taste like, as I was infantile enough to buy only enough ingredients for one batch. Which goes to said family. Leaving none for me. I guess that’s the point of doing someone a favor. Sigh. But not to worry, I’ll be making these for myself in no time, as they certainly smell and look delicious. And maybe you can let me know how they taste, too? Here’s hoping I don’t send off these pretty little numbers only to find they taste like lard. And only lard. What a pity that would be.

Debrief: Though I decided to keep it simple for the sake of sparing my co-worker and his family my crazy experimental adaptations of this recipe, I wouldn’t doubt switching out the parsley and cheddar for blue cheese and scallions tastes great (as shown in this variation). Also, as I am a sucker for whole-wheat flour, replacing half of the all-purpose flour for it might not be such a bad idea either.

Cheddar Biscuits Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Yields 12 to 14 biscuits

Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder 2 1/2 tsp sugar 1/4 tsp salt 3 tbsp vegetable shortening, room temperature 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (plus more for greasing baking sheet) 1 1/4 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese 3/4 cup milk (they suggest whole, I used 2 percent) For the garlic butter: 3 tbsp unsalted butter 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with butter. Make the biscuits: In a large food processor or stand mixer (as you can see my food processor wasn’t big enough, thus the switch to the stand mixer), pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the shortening and pulse until combined. Add the butter; pulse 4 or 5 times, or until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add the cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times. Pour in the milk and pulse just until the mixture is moistened and forms a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a clean surface and gently knead until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough or the biscuits will be tough. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet in scant 1/4-cup portions (I used an ice cream scoop for this), 2 inches apart, and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the garlic butter: Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Brush the biscuits with the garlic butter and serve warm.

Extra punches: Watch the biscuits carefully, checking every few minutes after 10 minutes in the oven to ensure they don’t burn. They can very easily go from golden brown to burnt in a short amount of time.

Round Twenty Nine — Five Herb Bread

Five Herb Bread

Greetings, dear readers! I would just like to share with you my excitement over the fact that it is not only Friday, but the weekend. And not just any weekend, no no. It’s Memorial Day weekend, those glorious three days of respite in which we the people are able to bask in the summer sun for the first time since it peaked its head after winter’s sweet goodbye. My plans for this mini-vacation?

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. Get a tan (while wearing protective sunscreen, of course!). Hike. Beach. Road trip. Errands (boo). Bake.

What are your plans for this wonderful weekend? I hope one of them involves reading my very last post (sniffle) on Tablespoon.comFive Herb Bread. Incentive: I discuss my obsession with herbs. This may or may not be a medical condition. My husband, who is in his first week of graduate school at UI, will get back to me on that one.

For now, I’m off to enjoy my three days of relaxation. Au revoir, friends! I bid you glad tidings and a dose of summer sun as well.

P.S. Keep checking in over here at Girl Versus Dough. Mama’s coming home soon, I promise!

Round Twenty Eight — Sweet Potato & Sage Bread

Sweet Potato Sage Bread

Holy heck it’s hot outside! What is it with this Iowa weather? First we have a deluge of cold, rainy days, and now it’s like the freaking Amazon. Do. Not. Understand.

The husband and I are in an epic battle with the A/C right now. Our strategy is to stand in front of fans at high speed all day long. We have failed once already but, as the late siren Aaliyah once proclaimed, you’ve got to pick yourself up and try again. Or maybe it was Abraham Lincoln.

For now, another recipe on Tablespoon.com to console you in these times of scorching heat. Sweet Potato & Sage Bread, anyone? Yes, please and thank you. You’re so polite.

P.S. Friends! I love comments, either on my blog or on my Tablespoon post! Please let me know what you think — the good, the bad and the ugly. Hit me with ’em. I want to know your thoughts.

Round Twenty Seven — Cinnamon Sugar Braided Loaf

Cinnamon Sugar Braided Loaf

Ah, yes. Another glorious Saturday. The weekend is upon us, dear friends, let’s make the best of it!

And if you have no plans yet, you should plan on making this bread. Because it’s dang good, that’s why. I plan on spending my weekend with my awesome mom who’s visiting, and watching the series finale of LOST tomorrow (O. M. G. I cannot wait!).

If anything, at least reading the letter I wrote to congratulate Cinnamon and Sugar on their marriage should intrigue you (yes, I am wooing you with the crazy things I do, like write letters to inanimate objects).

So check out my newest post on Tablespoon.com, already! This time: Cinnamon Sugar Braided Loaf. And a very happy weekend to you all.

Round Twenty Six — Wheat Naan

Wheat Naan

I know, I know, I swore I would never eat Indian food again after my month-long trip there over a year ago. But I must admit, this recipe really warmed me up again to the idea of Indian cuisine (I even had a rice and potato curry dish with it for dinner last night — egads, I am risky!).

Anywho, enough about me. It’s time for you to read my next post on Tablespoon! This time, Wheat Naan. Want some bread? I have naan left because I ate it all. Get it? Ha. ha.

Ha.

Oh dear. A happy Monday to you all.

Round Twenty Five — Caraway Swirl Rye Rolls

Caraway Swirl Rye Rolls

There is a man I work with named Roger. Roger is in charge of answering silly inquiries about subscriptions, connecting lost callers to the appropriate employee and helping little old ladies get free copies of the paper. Every Friday, while faithfully donning his Meat Loaf “Bat Out Of Hell” concert T-shirt (for casual Friday, of course), Roger greets me as I stroll through the door with this lovely acronym:

“TGIF!”

TGIF, indeed, Roger. TGIF.

So, in the spirit of the week’s end, enjoy your Friday with my sophomore post on Tablespoon.com! This time: Caraway Swirl Rye Rolls. And a TGIF to you, too, dear reader.

P.S. I got a