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.