08 July 2010

Double Take: Cheesy Chive Biscuits

I was looking for something quick and easy for this week because Tabitha’s summer schedule is beyond crazy. For some people, biscuits might be intimidating, but not for these two Southern gals! Tabitha is actually the person who taught me how to make biscuits (follow the recipe on the back of the White Lily bag) and I tried to get the right before I left Winston-Salem. That didn’t happen. With White Lily flour not an option in Germany, I had to get creative. Self-rising flour was not an option either (Okay, so there is self-rising here, but the rising agent is yeast rather than baking powder). Nicely though, baking powder is available in these cute little one use packets with the perfect amount for two cups of flour. So I switched from the famous White Lily recipe to baking powder biscuits. And by golly, I perfected biscuits.

The key to a great rise in your biscuit? A hot oven (and fresh baking powder). My oven in Germany gets HOT HOT HOT, but the one I had in Winston-Salem would take over half an hour to get to the required 500°F, if it bothered to get there. When I was in the US in May, I wanted to thank Heather and Matt for letting us stay with them, so I made biscuits (Have you ever stayed in your old house before that is now your friends’? Specifically one that is now filled with their furniture, with a few pieces thrown in that used to be yours? I highly recommend it, especially if your friends are as awesome as Heather and Matt!). Oh yeah, back to biscuits. My biscuits in Winston-Salem were duds. I blame it on the oven. It never got hot. My biscuits here, even when I don’t use White Lily flour, are significantly better than the ones I served them. I’m sorry guys!

Hubby and I are happy with the biscuits I make here, so I haven’t experimented with them (Hubby’s got a cooking philosophy that I try to stick to for him: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!). When I was looking down the Double Take Challenge list of recipes, I was excited to find a recipe that would let me experiment with changing up my biscuits. And Cheesy Chive sounded excellent to me! (Keep in my I was just looking at the title) Tabitha looked at the title, and wrote to me saying Garlic Chive Biscuits sounded great… Um, garlic? There’s no garlic in these biscuits I wrote back. She looked at the title again and noted her mistake (It’s not surprising her blog is Double the Garlic, is it?). I realized at work on Monday that I need to make the biscuits that day since it was the only meal on the schedule that would work with biscuits (Yes, I’m a nerd and have a Google calendar with my meals planned out a week in advance). I remembered seeing the cutting board and cheese knife out that morning, so I assumed Hubby had finished off some cheese the night before. So I inquired if he’d eaten the Parmesan or cheddar. Cheddar of course (I’d inadvertently hidden the Parm in the door, where he never looks for stuff). I wasn’t thrilled. I just knew the biscuits called for cheddar, and that meant I had to make an extra stop in the City Center because there’s only one store that sells block cheddar and it’s not our regular store. So, I make the stop, pick up some salsa too, and head home. I open the cookbook.

No cheddar. The Cheesy part is Parmesan! I had plenty of that on hand since I’d hidden it from Hubby! Oh, well. I threw the butter in the freezer since it was so hot and the stuff in the door doesn’t keep as cool as we’d like. I gathered my ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, milk (I wonder if this stuff is still good? Well, the recipe calls for milk instead of buttermilk, which is preferable for biscuits, so using sour milk will actually make it better), chives, and Parmesan. I combined my dry ingredients, cut in the thoroughly chilled butter using a pastry cutter (huh, that doesn't look like nearly enough butter), and then threw the bowl in the fridge because the butter had gotten warm, and I needed to rub down my chicken and put it on the grill. Once the chicken was sizzling away, I took the cold biscuit mixture out of the fridge and added the milk. Oops. I had completely forgotten about the chives and cheese, which were supposed to be added before the milk. Before stirring, I quickly added the forgotten ingredients. Surprisingly, the mixture combined quite well without noticeable lumps of cheese or chives. I kneeded the dough a few times on a well floured surface, patted it out to about half an inch, and then cut them using my butter knife into squares (my largest glasses doesn’t come anywhere close to 2.5 inches in diameter). I plopped the tray into a heated oven and went back to my chicken. Amazingly, the biscuits rose beautifully and finished right around the same time as my chicken. Superb!

And the taste? I should have gone with our first instincts and made garlic-cheddar-chive biscuits. Hubby nailed it right on the head: “It tastes like a Goldfish.” Of course, it wasn’t hard like a cracker, but there was a distinct flavor mimicking that of a Goldfish. It was the Parmesan of course, so I have decreed that Parmesan does not belong in bread mixes in my kitchen. (I'm thinking the recipe was written thinking that no Southern woman would pay for real Parmesan). I really wanted to like these biscuits. I added butter, but that only helped a little bit. I saved the leftovers in an airtight bag to keep them from drying out. The next day, I split them, added butter, added garlic powder, and popped them back into the oven for garlic bread to go with our spaghetti. I still did not like them.
The main biscuit recipe was very similar to the one I use normally, except for the butter. The biscuits were a bit drier than they should have been as they used significantly less butter. Paula Deen got it right when she used a whole stick for 2 cups of flour! 
Never-again: 2 votes!  

For Tabitha's take on Cheesy Chive Biscuits, head on over to Double the Garlic!


  1. Sounds like Jason once again proved his point--if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

  2. I was really hoping for something as stellar as the cheddar garlic biscuits at Red Lobster. And I will conquer those too! This recipe teach me how to play with my current biscuit recipe (and how NOT to play with it!).

  3. I thought about the biscuits at Red Lobster when I started reading your post.


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