I recently had a strange craving for biscuits. I say "strange" because I've never craved biscuits before. I hardly ever eat biscuits, unless they're popped from a canister and slathered with sausage gravy. Come to think of it, I don't think I've even had homemade biscuits. Ever. And yet, there I was, craving biscuits. The kind with cheddar.
I think it started when I spotted a recipe in a cookbook. It was this cookbook, and the recipe was for chipotle cheddar biscuits, and my sister Jenny had told me to flip through the book and tell her what she should bake. I saw the recipe and exclaimed, "Biscuits!" Savory, fluffy, dip-in-a-big-bowl-of-chili biscuits! She, of course, was thinking more along the lines of marshmallows or candy. I may have suggested biscuits another time after that, which she may have brushed off or pretended not to hear, it's hard to say. But either way: I knew that if I wanted these things, the baker in my life wasn't going to make them for me. I'd have to find a recipe that I could manage and make them on my own.
So I did. I made biscuits! Just like that.
Well, it wasn't that easy. I had to e-mail my sister beforehand to ask a question about one of the instructions, to which she gave a detailed response, and then once I was knuckle-deep in flour and butter, I had to call her when I reached said instruction on the recipe because I was still confused.
Listen, I thought baking was supposed to be a science, right? An exact science that requires exact measurements and leveling off with a knife and "Do Not Over Mix." It's part of the reason it scares me so. But then it goes on with these instructions like, "Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course meal." Or, "Cream the butter until light and fluffy." Huh? I know some of you bakers may be thinking these descriptions seem obvious, but they lose me every time. Course meal? Light and fluffy? How is this scientific? How do I know when this exact point in the cutting and/or mixing process occurs? And how do I make sure I'm not over mixing?
Here is the part where Jenny said to me, "You seem kind of frantic." And that's when it hit me, I suppose. This is a recipe for biscuits, not an equation for solving life's mysteries. Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, mix, plop, heat, rise. I can do this, and it doesn't have to mean the end of the world if the butter isn't cut exactly how it should be. Live and learn. Trial and error. I just hate the error part.
Fortunately, there were no errors in this trial. These biscuits are delicious! Nice and crusty on the outside, fluffy and moist on the inside, with bits of green onion and cheddar throughout. And I'll tell you every time I bake something, but I couldn't help but give a little squeal when I peered into the lit oven and saw the biscuits look as biscuits should, rising and turning golden brown. I don't squeal like that when I make soup, or fried rice, or pop breakfast biscuits out of a canister. Or when I'm studying science, which proves once more that this baking thing is something else entirely. I'm not quite sure what, but it involves delicious biscuits, and that's never a bad thing.
Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Green Onion Biscuits (from Cooking Light)
These are best served fresh out of the oven. Once they've sat out for a bit, they can get kind of gummy. Cooking Light says to wrap the biscuits loosely in foil and put in the oven at 300 F for 10 minutes to reheat. I put mine in my very powerful toaster oven for about 3 minutes at 200 F. Be careful not to leave them in for too long, because the bottoms get kind of burnt.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
Preheat oven to 450°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.* Add cheese and onions; toss well. Add buttermilk and sour cream; stir just until moist.
Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove biscuits from pan; cool on wire racks.
Serving: 1 biscuit
Calories per serving: 146
*This means to take one knife in each hand and literally cut the butter into the flour, so that the mixture looks like it has small, bead-sized lumps, like unsifted flour. The point of this is to leave small chunks of butter so that the biscuits have that flaky, biscuit-y texture. I wish the original instructions would have told me this. Thank you, Jenny, for that bit of baking wisdom.