Monday, July 16, 2012

Unchained Cheddar Biscuits

When a friend proposed a little food challenge to remake a dish from a chain restaurant, the first thing I thought of was cheddar biscuits from a certain seafood restaurant. To be honest, my choices were pretty slim. We don't go out to eat all that much, and when we do, we tend to go to a few local places that we like a lot.

So, when I was thinking of dishes to remake from a chain, there wasn't much that was particularly memorable.

But those biscuits are famous. There are bazillions of copycat recipes. But I didn't want to make my biscuits exactly the same way, I wanted to make my own version. Better, maybe.

Definitely not the same.

The first thing I changed was that these are cut biscuits instead of drop biscuits. So instead of looking like lumps, these are tall, layered, and proud.

And then I had fun with the flavor. I added plenty of cheese flavor, and some dried chives as well. And then - for the bit of bayou, I sprinkled the finished biscuits with just a little bit of Slap Ya Mama seasoning.

I got my cheese powders from Savory Spice Shop; I'm sure there are other sources.

Cheddar Bayou Biscuits

1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) self-rising flour
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese powder
2 tablespoons romano cheese powder
1 tablespoon chives
4 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup cold milk
Additional butter for brushing the biscuit tops
Slap Ya Mama spice mix

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the self-rising flour, cheese powders, and chives. Whisk to combine.

Cut the butter into chunks and drop it into the bowl with the flour. Cut the butter in with two knives or a pastry cutter until the largest bits are no bigger than a pea. Add the milk and fold gently to moisten all the flour. The dough should be a little bit wet. If it's dry and thick, add a bit more milk. If it seems too wet, don't fret. You can make up for that when you roll the biscuits.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Dust the top with flour. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough and your work surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking. You'll need more at the beginning and not much later.

Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. Roll the dough again, this time to 1/2 thick. Fold in thirds again, like a letter. Roll it to 3/4 inch thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, dip the cutter in flour, then cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Try to keep from twisting the cutter as you cut.

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet leaving space bewteen them.

Gather the scraps, piling them on top of each other, trying not to turn them sideways - you created nice layers with the folding, you want to keep them running horizontally. Roll the dough again to 3/4 inch thick and cut as many more biscuits as you can.

You can re-roll a third time, if you need to, or just gather the scraps and make one last hand-formed biscuit.

Bake the biscuits at 400 degrees until nicely browned, about 18 minutes.

Move the biscuits to a rack. Brush the tops with butter, then sprinkle with as much of the Slap Ya Mama seasoning as you like.