Monday, November 22, 2010

Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Green Onion Biscuit-ology.

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.

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

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.

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits
Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

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?

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

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.

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

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
Cooking spray

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.

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

12 comments:

  1. These look fantastic....and yes, we do have to remind ourselves sometimes we're not curing cancer here, right? I work very part time at a little dinnerware shop here in CA called Heath Ceramics and a few of us occasionally turn to each other and remind ourselves, 'um it's just ceramics.' That being said, looks like your worry/care paid off with these. Perfect with soup!

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  2. yum! i think i will have to try this out one day. i also heard you can use a grater on the butter and that would cut it into pieces small enough to make little beads. i was gonna try it with this scone recipe i have. by the way, this is steph, your cousin ;-)

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  3. yum...and yes, definitely look as though they below with a big bowl of chili too.

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  4. See, now you know why I squeal too! It's that magical point when your batter starts looking exactly like what it's suppose to look like--such a fun moment! Congratulations on your awesome biscuits--now you can make ME some. Also, great pictures, the colors of the towel and of your table really bring out the biscuits.

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  5. i love that you had a hankering and even tho you don't get the activity, you attempted to bake to ease the hankering. i'm not a biscuit girl myself but i wouldn't be able to resist the cheese & green onions combo. great job!

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  6. Rock on! These look great; they'd definitely be welcome at our Thanksgiving table. :)

    The learning curve can be steep with baking terminology, but it means you'll make huge strides with each recipe you try...and plus, you'll feel that much prouder of yourself for having made the attempt.

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  7. Megan - Oh yeah, for some reason I was really worried about these biscuits. I even went out at the last minute to buy a new box of baking soda, because I was afraid mine expired and it would affect the results. Thanks for your sweet comment!

    Stephanie - That's interesting about the grater technique. Jenny told me to use a food processor, but mine was broken, so I had to use the knife method. I've also read that using your hands is just as effective. Glad you stopped by, and I hope you let me know how that grater works out.

    Char - Chili recipe coming soon! :)

    Jenny - I will definitely make biscuits for you. And yes, I totally get the squealing. I'm just glad I get to experience the excitement, too!

    Lan - Thank you! It was definitely quite the hankering. This recipe seemed simple enough for me to figure out, though, so I just went for it. I thought, How tough can it be to cut butter? Turns out, it's ridiculously easy.

    Maddie - I was hoping someone might see these as a Thanksgiving recipe, since it's T-Day week and all. And I truly am just happy to be learning this baking thing. It's not so bad. :)

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  8. mmm. these look good. I never crave biscuits, but when I see pictures of them, I start wanting them (like for instance, now). I have 3 biscuit recipes favorited and I think your post is going to follow suit.

    (btw, new follower. found your site through one of your minolta photos on flickr. :D)

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  9. Caroline - Well, three's a charm, right? Might be time to give one of those recipes a try. Also, welcome! I love that you found me through the Minolta. Such a great camera.

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  10. Nice work! These look delicious :)

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  11. AMEN. I never know what "light and fluffy" looks like -- I had this problem this morning, while I was trying to make a cheesecake. I kept asking myself, "When is cream cheese fluffy?"

    These look delish. If I had more time and some buttermilk in stock, I'd make some today. Perhaps the weekend...

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  12. Nicole - Thanks!

    Stephanie - So glad I'm not the only one who doesn't get it. Totally make these this weekend. I should also have a chili recipe up by the weekend that goes so well with these. I could get lazy, though, so I'm not making any promises...

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