Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

Carrot Soup and Cheddar Scones

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

Adapted from Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup milk

Line a sheet pan with parchment and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.   Mix in the grated cheese and thyme and then stir in the milk to get a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out the scones.  Transfer to the prepared sheet pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and enjoy with a pat of butter and some soup.

{printable recipe}

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Cream Cheese Biscuits

Cream Cheese Biscuit

I’ve said that Miss Libby at 2 is a glimpse at what I can probably expect in about 10 years (or sooner!) when puberty starts rearing its head. What with the tears and tantrums and drama, toddler and teen really aren’t that far removed from one another…and boy, if one is a preview of the other, then I’m in for it.

So it’s kind of fitting that I chaperoned Miss Libby’s first date last weekend.  He’s a younger man so his parents were there too.  Neither of the kids seemed to mind though.  Or if they did, they haven’t figured out the eye roll and the embarrassed sulk.  We have to wait a while yet for that.

Actually, I’ve been trying to make this date happen for about the last nine months.  And I may be lobbying for something of an “understanding” between the two families as far as the kids go because these two are too cute together not to be together.  There may not have been any hand holding but that was probably because because both kids were using their hands to eat.  Something about seeing Libby pass pieces of quesadilla across the table to Evan and watching him accept her gift made me very happy.

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Adapted from Baked Bree

BAH Note:  If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then I see no better vehicle than a biscuit.  Adorned simply with butter and jam or used to sandwich a savory middle, this biscuit is your friend.  Oh, and I find it easier to cut the cream cheese and butter into cubes after they come out of the freezer.  Give it a try, you might too.

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Put the dry ingredients, cream cheese, and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks sandy and no big pieces of butter or cream cheese remain.

Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.  Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough just forms.  Transfer the rough dough onto a floured counter and knead it until it all comes together.  Roll or push the dough into a rectangle (the longer the rectangle the thinner the biscuits, the shorter the rectangle the taller the biscuits) and cut into biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to your parchment lined sheet pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

{printable recipe}

Touch of Grace Biscuits

Graceful Biscuits

There’s no graceful way to say this, so I may as well just be blunt…I can be a complete ass sometimes.  And by sometimes I mean when I just react instead of stopping and thinking about how I want to react.  It’s the dark side of living in the moment.  Because in that precise moment, it’s a head spinning, furious fisted meltdown.  I was swallowed whole by  that moment this morning at breakfast.

That’s right.  I had a tantrum over a plate of scrambled eggs.

And here’s the kicker….as soon as I started, I knew I was over reacting.  I knew it and knew that it was easier to just be swept out by the rising tide of my anger than it was to dig my heels into the shifting sand and ground myself to a halt.  And while I see progress in the fact that I’m not sitting here stewing mad hours later, listening to the looping rant in my head about “why can’t you just listen to what I say?”, this place of saying I was wrong is uncomfortable.

Wasn’t I just talking about being a student of life and the continuing education that has come courtesy of the Tater Tot?   What is the saying about pride coming before the fall?  Yeah, the Universe has a way of keeping us humble and in check.  So maybe I should expand this particular life lesson plan to include being mindful enough in that moment to consciously choose how to react.

Since the Universe also has an uncanny knack for giving us repeat opportunities to try and get things right, I have a hunch this won’t be the last time I get quizzed on this particular life lesson.  I can only hope that my scores improve so that I get to move on to the next chapter in the lesson plan.

And what exactly does this have to do with a pan of biscuits?  Well I’ll tell ‘ya.  Once upon a time, I tried to make Touch of Grace Biscuits.  There were  multiple attempts.   And they all failed to make a passing grade.  Really, click that link and take a look at the best I could do.  That’s no biscuit.

But thanks to putting my pride aside and paying attention to the lesson as the Universe presented it to me, I was able to create pans of graceful biscuits.  So while I still have a ways to go with some of life’s lessons, I’m going to say that I’ve gotten a passing grade on this one.

Thank you Shauna Server for bringing me face to face with perfectly graceful biscuits.  I am in your debt.  Not only did you get the right recipe in my hands but your photos gave me great visual cues to how my biscuit dough should look.

Touch of Grace Biscuits

Adapted from BakeWise

BAH Note:  I don’t typically say you need to use a specific brand of anything…unless it really makes a difference.  And in this case, I think it does.  So look in your grocery store for White Lilly self rising flour.  Once you get to know these sinfully graceful biscuits I don’t think that bag of flour will go unused in your pantry.

Oh, and if you were inclined to brush a tablespoon or so of melted butter on the tops of the biscuits when they come out of the oven, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad choice.

  • 2 cups self rising flour, preferably White Lily (see the note above)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening (yup, shortening)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (don’t substitute any self rising flour here)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the heavy cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup and set aside.

Place the all purpose flour in a pie plate or dish and set aside.

Whisk together the self rising flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to work the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand with no large clumps.

Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  The dough should resemble wet cottage cheese.  To tell if you have the right consistency, use an ice cream scoop and scoop out some dough into your plate of all purpose flour.  It should hold its shape.  If not, return the test scoop to the mixing bowl and add self rising flour one tablespoon at a time and gently stir it in.

As soon as your dough holds its shape, place a few scoops of it in the all purpose flour.  Working with one scoop of dough at a time, pick it up, dust it with flour from your plate, and gently toss the dough from hand to hand to form your biscuit.  Place the formed biscuit in your prepared pan and repeat the process with the remaining dough.  Fit your biscuits as close together as you can…they need to be snug up against each other to get a really good rise.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes  or until the tops are light golden brown.  Allow the biscuits to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning them out and serving.

{printable recipe}

Big Ass Biscuits

Big Ass Biscuits

Remember all those times you were asked to picture your life in x number of years?  Did your idea of what that life was include the nitty gritty details?  Like that you would struggle with {fill in the blank with your issue of choice} or that you would find yourself {name your situation}?  Probably not.  At least I didn’t.  Because if I had then maybe I would have a handle on my battle with time management by now.

I haven’t found my solution yet.  I maintain a calendar; I write myself notes; I set reminders on my smart(er than I am) phone.  And still deadlines come and go.  I’ve become more accepting of the idea that whatever “it” is will get done eventually.  There’s only but so much time in a day.  Perhaps acknowledging that is the solution in and of itself.  I dunno.

I do know that I now add appointments to my calendar to do things like wash Miss Libby’s dirty clothes and to respond to emails.  Funny, I just bought Lib’s spring/summer wardrobe and I swear that she could probably go about three weeks before she ran out of things to wear.  Coincidence?  I wonder.

One thing I have been able to do is make these Big Ass Biscuits.  And shove them in my mouth.  On more than one occasion. If the day ever comes when I have to put an appointment on the calendar to throw together some butter, flour, and cheese and bake until golden brown and delicious, then I will be a lost cause.

Until then, I guess there’s hope for me yet.

Big Ass Biscuits

Adapted from Cook’s Country

BAH Note:  I call these Big Ass Biscuits because they are sizeable.  But also because consumption of them on a regular basis will contribute to a personal expansion of sizeable proportions.  One way I try and keep things from getting out of control is to only make a half batch of biscuits.  If  you have more self control than I do, or have other people around to take one for the team, I would double the quantities listed below to make a dozen biscuits.  PS, the cheese is totally optional, but why wouldn’t you?

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (I’ve used both parmesan and cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 475 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

Combine the cold buttermilk and cooled butter in a measuring cup or small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  The cold buttermilk will cause the melted butter to clump up and thicken a bit.  If that does not happen, set your cup or bowl in the fridge for a few moments.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined being careful not to overmix.  Use an ice cream disher to portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave a good bit of room between them because they are going to spread.

Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.

{printable recipe}

Advantium Rolls

not my actual roll...for illustrative purposes only.

You may recall that I spent Christmas 2010 with Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Bread Bible recipes for dutch baby and dinner rolls.  Both recipes were so successful and made the day feel like a holiday should that I decided that Rose should be part of Christmas 2011.  Specifically, I wanted to make a batch of cloverleaf dinner rolls so that I could give the Proof setting on the Advantium a whirl.

I was hoping for a Christmas miracle to be honest.  My luck with getting bread dough to rise is spotty.  I follow directions, I use water that is neither too hot nor too cold, I use high quality yeast, and I try my best to surrender my fears to the bread gods.  Maybe our house is a bit on the chilly side.  Or maybe I have evil spirits in the air taking all the mojo out of the yeast.  Or maybe I just needed the Advantium to banish those evil spirits and unleash my bread baking super power.

The first rise of the dough was glorious.  When I took it out of the Advantium, it had grown as though any other outcome was simply inconceivable.  I deflated the dough, gave it a turn or two, and set it back in the Advantium on Proof for the second rise expecting that my good fortune with the first rise must have been a fluke.

Not so.  The second rise was as perfectly executed as the first.  I then portioned the dough, rolled each portion into balls, and set three dough balls into each cup of a muffin tin.  While the big oven heated, the dough went back into the Advantium for the final rise.

Once the dough had achieved about 3/4 of the final rise, my impatience got the best of me.  I brushed melted butter on the top of the rolls, gave them a generous dusting of kosher salt, and set them in the oven to fulfill their cloverleaf destiny.  If I had a been just a bit more patient on the final rise, my rolls would have achieved maximum lift when they hit the intense heat of the oven.  But I wasn’t.  And they didn’t.  And in spite of that, they still emerged golden brown and I eagerly pulled one apart to enjoy its salted, buttery deliciousness.

Is there anything better than bread, still warm from the oven?  The correct answer is no.

The rolls that we didn’t eat with Christmas dinner were carefully wrapped in plastic and stashed in the freezer.  I think they lasted all of two weeks before we had picked the last one off.  Which means that I am long overdue to set a bowl of flour, yeast, and water in my Advantium and harness the super power of the Proof setting.

Want the recipe that I used?  Click here to jump back in time.  The only thing I did differently this year, besides proofing the dough in the Advantium, was letting the starter develop in the refrigerator overnight.  Yes, it added even more time to an already lengthy recipe but it wasn’t like I was doing any more work.

Disclaimer:  As part of my partnership with GE, I received an Advantium oven.  All opinions posted about my Advantium experience are my own.

Food Memories – Grandmother’s Dinner Rolls

I met Jen Schall last year at Big Summer Potluck.  And then we both found ourselves attending the IFBC conference a month or so later.  One thing led to another and before I knew it we were tweeting back and forth and leaving comments on each other’s blogs.  Let me tell you something about Jen, she creates amazing things in the kitchen. Go.  Look.  Here’s the link.  Her talent isn’t limited to the sweets and savories.  That’s only half the story.  Her pictures are sublime.  Knowing that she’s only about 90 minutes away from B’more, I’m tempted to show up on her doorstep one day and request a private tutorial in how she sets up these shots.

I had asked Jen after IFBC if she had a recipe that I could include in my Food Memories Project.  She said she thought she did and then life got busy in the way it often does.  Later we were chatting about my challenges making bread and she mentioned that she had this great dinner roll recipe that she was going to post in her bread baking series.  So imagine my surprise when I read her post about her grandmother’s dinner rolls.  It was as though I had hit the trifecta….grandmother story (and I’m a big sucker for those), food memory, and a flawless roll all in one.

Thanks to Jen and her generosity, I now have perfect dinner rolls in my freezer and a food memory to share with you.

The following appeared on My Kitchen Addiction on 3 May 2011.

Light and Soft Dinner Rolls

If you ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that these are the ultimate dinner rolls. But, I can’t really take credit for them.

These are my grandmother’s famous rolls…  Whenever we would have get togethers with the whole family, she would make a big batch of these rolls. They were a holiday staple for years. My brother and cousins would fight over them, and I’m pretty sure that there were times where they each had more than 10 rolls in one meal. They really are that good.

My grandmother was a great cook and baker. Though she passed away a few years ago, I often think of her when I am in my kitchen. I am fortunate enough to have many of her recipes, and though I can’t prepare them quite the way she did, they always remind me of her.

Until recently, the recipe for her rolls was one of the few recipes that I didn’t have. In December, my mom and I were putting together a book of family recipes for my brother and his new wife.  When we asked around for recipes, one of my cousins happened to have the recipe for the rolls. We put it in the book (especially since my brother was one of the biggest fans of the rolls), and I set out to learn to make them myself.

Perhaps my grandmother is looking down on me, because there’s just something about these rolls that always amazes me.  They really are quite simple to make, and they always turn out beautifully.  They are the lightest, softest dinner rolls I have ever made. They’re also pretty adaptable. I have swapped out the all purpose flour for whole wheat, added flax, used oil in place of the butter, and even made them with herbs and cheese. The rolls also make fantastic buns for hot dogs and hamburgers… You’ll want to keep the recipe on hand this summer!

Light and Soft Dinner Rolls
(Makes 18 dinner rolls or 12 sandwich rolls)

Adapted from Jen Schall

BAH Note: I’ve made these as cloverleaf rolls with success.  After the second rise, portion the dough into 18 rolls. Divide each roll into three equal pieces and roll them into three small balls.  Place the group of three dough balls in the buttered cavity of a muffin tin so that it looks like a pyramid.  Brush the tops with melted butter,  cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise just until it reaches the top of the muffin tin.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  I’ve also frozen the cooked rolls and let them thaw at room temperature or warmed them in a 350 degree oven.

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    (or cut it into small chunks and microwave for about 15 seconds)
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Begin by combining the milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together until the yeast and sugar are mostly dissolved.

Add the butter and egg.  Stir to incorporate and break up the egg.  Add 1 cup of flour and beat vigorously to fully incorporate the flour and any lumps of butter that may have been remaining.

Gradually, add the remaining flour, stirring until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with your hands, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, but still light and soft.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 1 1/2 hours).  Punch the dough down, reshape into a ball, and let rise a second time until the dough has doubled in volume again (an additional hour).

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Shape the rolls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. Let the rolls rise while the oven preheats, until they are a bit puffy.  If desired, brush the tops of the rolls with some egg wash (to make them shiny) and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I usually do this for the hot dog and hamburger buns).  Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes, until the rolls are golden on top.

Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack. The rolls are best served warm, but they will keep for a few days in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic.

{printable recipe}

bake! boule

You might recall I’ve been trying to overcome my fear of yeast.  There have been some successes, some failures, and some that were too close to call either way.  So when I got my copy of Nick Malgieri’s bake! and saw that his bread recipes seemed far more accessible to my yeast averse self, I wanted to start baking immediately.  Mother Nature came through town and deposited a blanket of snow shortly thereafter which resulted in an unexpected weekday afternoon trying to coax magic out of some flour, yeast, and water.

I can not tell a lie.  I struggled with this method.  And by struggle I mean that I threw an entire batch of dough away because I was convinced that I had somehow manged to do it wrong.  The instructions and photos conveyed the notion that the dough would fully incorporate all of the flour with the deft use of a rubber spatula.  Not the first time I tried it.  And not the second either.  Both times I used half the flour to make a paste.  Both times I added half of the remaining flour and began folding.   Both times I struggled to get the first half of the remaining flour incorporated, let alone the second half.  Seeing how I got the same results both times, I decided to continue on with my second attempt and see where it got me.

Where it got me was up to my wrists in dough.  Because even my sturdiest rubber spatula could not get the upper hand.  So I chucked it aside and used my hands to gently fold the flour into the dough.  I was able to get all but about 1/4 cup incorporated.  There was a rise, some folding, more rising, and more folding all while I said a little prayer that all this work would result in something bread like coming out of my oven in a few hours.

It wasn’t until the dough had sat for an hour’s rise that my fears started to dissipate.  When I uncovered the bowl, I beheld the sight of doubled dough.  After some shaping and resting, the boules were slashed and slid into the oven.  Thirty minutes later, I pulled out the lovely loaf you see above.

I still can’t say whether my procedure was wrong or if my expectations were incorrect.  Oddly enough, I had a similar struggle with dry dough when I made Nick’s Quick Brioche.  But based on what he said at our bake! get together, his recipes are tested before they go to print.  So until I find reason otherwise, I have to say the problem lies somewhere in my kitchen.