August 3, 2009

You Know You Live in Maryland When...

Old Bay has permeated every aspect of your kitchen. That deep red spice is a staple in the Steiner household. We put it on everything- chicken, fish, fries, baked/mashed potatoes, eggs and's on my baked goods. It was only a matter of time, to be honest!

I made Old Bay Cheddar biscuits. Now, these are not a replica of the Cheddar Bay Biscuits I hear people talk about from Red Lobster. I have never been there and don't really know what those are. I found some of the recipes online, but they all called for Bisquick. If I'm going to bake something in my snazzy red kitchen, you bet your buttered biscuits that I'm going to do it from scratch. We had a pretty busy weekend, buying a car and then sitting in it over the Bay Bridge to a party on the shore. By the time I made it home on Sunday afternoon, all I wanted was some mindless activity that made me feel happy. Bring on the baking!

I used Dorie's recipe for biscuits because I trust her implicitly. And she hasn't failed me yet! This is a really easy recipe, and is a great "base" for any type of add-ins you could think of. I imagined all sorts of sweet and savory possibilities for the next time I want to bake them (basil and sundried tomato biscuits, snickerdoodle sweet cream biscuits, molasses biscuits, rosemary and thyme biscuits....).

The dough is super-duper sticky and messy (see above!), but it was a quick process and easy clean-up. The key to successful biscuits is to make sure that the fat (butter, in this case) is cold. Ice cold. Straight from the fridge cold. And you don't want to work it too much. Dorie recommends using your fingers instead of a pastry cutter, and I agree. When you cut the butter into the flour mixture, you want it to be an uneven crumble texture - like pebbles and peas. The lumps of butter will melt and release steam in the oven, which leads to flaky layers. The less you fuss with this dough, the better.

Biscuits are best served piping hot, right from the oven, with the steam pouring out of them. Hungry yet? Have fun with this basic recipe - play around and enjoy the results!

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cup cake flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk (can make your own by following this simple recipe)
Optional: 1 TBS old bay seasoning (if you do this, don't add the salt)
Optional: 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, sugar, and salt or Old Bay together in a bowl.

Drop in the butter and, with your fingers or a pastry blender, rub it into the flour until you’ve got crumbs—some the size of flakes, some like baby peas. Remember, it should be very uneven with visible pieces of butter.

Add the buttermilk and stir; the mixture will be very sticky. Add in the cheese. Reach into the bowl and knead the dough gently 3 or 4 times.

Turn it onto a floured surface and roll or pat it into a circle about 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can; gather the scraps, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle a little bit of Old Bay and cheese on each. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool 5 minutes. Watch Alex and his brother fall all over themselves trying to get to the biscuits and graciously accept praise for being the "best wife ever."


Nicole said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think I have Old Bay seasoning at home, but I've never used it. I'm from Seattle so it's not as common here, but I bought it for some reason! Your biscuits look delicious.

Jessica said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Yum, Old Bay! I love it when they have the Herr's chips with Old Bay - the only time I want to buy potato chips! I am a bit north of you in Chester County, PA, but I'll have to try some Old Bay in my biscuits next time. Yours look fantastic.