“Counterfeit” Recipe: Cheddar Bay Biscuit Copycats (a la Red Lobster)

15 Feb

For years, I’ve been yearning for a home version of these little babies that proved as moist and dense as the real thing but didn’t require using Bisquick, which I don’t buy because I feel like it makes otherwise competent cooks need a crutch to lean on. Making Bisquick pancakes for the family on Sunday morning sort of seems like reading the Cliffs Notes version of Gone with the Wind. What’s the point?

After being thoroughly disappointed with my Internet findings, I decided to figure out an adequate conversion for myself using ingredients that were already in my cabinet (no powdered milk). I couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result, and I can guarantee my family will be enjoying this wonderful version at home for years to come.

*I should also note that these reheated more beautifully than any baked good I’ve ever encountered. On Day 2, they microwaved right back into the amazingly moist and crumbly delights they were the first time around. Simply delicious!

 

Sliced-up cold butter will incorporate more evenly and quickly than one big block.

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you have a pizza/baking stone, use it for this recipe. If not, cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side down). I recommend lightly spraying any foil-covered surface for these biscuits.

 

Measure 2 cups of all-purpose flour…

 

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt (or, alternatively,  1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1 teaspoon salt). Sift together with fork.

Using hands, fork, or pastry cutter, add 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, broken into 1-tablespoon cubes. (It will cut together better than using one big cold block of butter. This method is also effective when making pie crust.)

When a crumbly mixture is achieved, stir in 1/2 cup cold whole or 2% milk, mixing only until uniformly wet, but not over-incorporating.

 

A fork is a simple alternative to keeping a pastry cutter in your messy utensil drawer.

 

Fold 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1-2 teaspoons dried chives or parsley flakes into the mixture and place in large, round dollops on baking surface, roughly 1/4-cup each in size.

 

Add cheese and chives to mixture.

 

(An ice cream scoop is recommended in other recipes, but the truth is I had an easier time of it with my fingers doing the scooping in the end. Whatever works for you.)

Luckily, the biscuits don’t do a lot of outward expansion, so 1″ is generally enough room between biscuits if you’re trying to cram them all on one sheet instead of two. Isn’t it reassuring to read this issue already addressed in a recipe before you bake it, for once in your life? That’s because I love you more than the other bloggers do. Really. 🙂

 

Cheesey batter. I totally ate some raw. (Sue me.)

 

So anyway, lay out the biscuit batter on the sheet (recipe should make about ten, but you might be able to eek a dozen smallish ones out if need be) and bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until one feels firm to the touch.

 

1″ to 1-1/2″ is enough room for expansion.

 

(A word to the wise: several recipes advise removing these when they begin to turn “golden,” but the honest truth is that mine didn’t. They stayed sort of generally white-ish with a few little brown specks here and there until I buttered them. THAT’S when they finally decided to look like the Cheddar Bay Biscuits we all know and love, so don’t freak out if yours don’t turn golden, either. It’s much better to pull a firmly-baked white biscuit out of the oven and butter the top to achieve your color than leave it in too long and wind up blackening your biscuit-bottoms in the meantime.)

 

See how the golden color won’t be exactly uniform straight out of the oven?

 

While your biscuits are baking, sprinkle about 1 tsp garlic salt (or equivalent salt + garlic powder) and 1-2 teaspoons dried chives or parsley flakes over 2 tablespoons butter (should be what you have left of the stick you started with after using 6 tablespoons in the batter above). Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds or until melted. Stir well.

 

This is where that beautiful yellow color will start to kick in!

 

As soon as biscuits come out of the oven, brush the tops with butter/seasoning mixture. Be sure to use up all of the melted butter mixture — even if it means revisiting each biscuit top and extra time or two. It’ll be worth it. Promise.

As soon as butter mixture is used up, remove biscuits from baking surface, serve immediately, and then do a little happy dance at how wonderfully they came out and how clever you are for saving yourself otherwise requisite Red Lobster dinner bill.

 

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