Sunday, December 18, 2016

Garlic and Cheese Biscuits




Tis the time of the year to give. And it's usually something homemade. Cookies are the rule of the thumb, but savory goodies make delicious gifts too. I settle on biscuits, laden with garlic and cheese. I do love a biscuit, hot from the oven, flaky and layered, crusty tops with soft insides.

The recipe is a mish mash of many biscuits. There is one caveat....you have to use butter! Butter is rubbed into flour and leavening agents. Garlic powder and a blend of asiago, fontina, parmesan and provolone are mixed into the dough. These cheeses add mild flavor without overpowering the biscuit itself. I start with a food processor to cut the butter into the flour, but I finish the dough by hand. Squooshing the butter with my fingertips gives me much more control over the dough. The finished dough is then patted by hand, on a floured surface. A fluted biscuit cutter gives the biscuits delicately edged rounds. They sit in the fridge for an hour, which  lets them develop signature layers and that buttery taste when baked!


GARLIC AND CHEESE BISCUITS 
Makes 16-18 


4 cups all purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1 heaping teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 1/2 cups grated Cheese (Cheddar, Asiago, Fontina, Provolone or Parmesan-- alone or in any combination)
8 tablespoons cold Butter
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons Buttermilk


Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to aerate the flour.

Sprinkle garlic powder over flour and pulse to mix.




Scatter cheese over flour and pulse a few times to mix.




Cut butter into 1/4 inch squares.




Add to flour and pulse 10-15 times.

Pour flour and butter into a large bowl. 

Use your fingers to smoosh the butter into the flour. This takes patience and time, though you have a head start with the processor. The flour should resemble fat peas.




Make a well in the center of the flour mix.

Pour buttermilk into the well. Use a fork to gently combine buttermilk and flour. The dough should come together as a shaggy mass. It should hold together when clumped. Try not to overwork the dough.




Dust a surface with flour.

Scrape dough into flour. Pull dough together to form a disc.




Pat the dough into a circle that is 1 inch thick. The surface will not be completely smooth and that is okay.

Use a 2 inch biscuit cutter to punch biscuits. Try to stay as close as possible to the stamped out impressions. This way you can maximize most of the patted circle. Gather up remaining dough and once again pat into a circle. Repeat with biscuit cutter until all the dough is used. 







Lay biscuits two inches apart on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Use two baking sheets.




Refrigerate baking sheets for 1 hour. Dont skip this step as this allows the dough to rest.

Heat oven to 450F.

Bake one baking sheet at a time, keeping the other refrigerated.

Brush the tops of biscuits with remaining 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.




Bake for 17-20 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.




Repeat baking with second sheet.

Enjoy biscuits warm. They maybe reheated in a 300F oven for 10 minutes.





NOTES

If you are not using a device, put flour, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to aerate the flour. Scatter garlic powder and cheese over flour and whisk again till mixed well. Cut butter into 1/4 inch squares. Add to flour and smoosh with your fingers until flour resembles fat peas. Add buttermilk as directed by the recipe.

I used a mix of Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Provolone cheese.





The house smells divine. I peek into the oven to watch the biscuits grow. They acquire leaning tower sensibilities. Hot ones are quickly devoured. I have to admonish family as these are meant to be edible gifts!! After all, it is the season. And seasoned gifts are the best kind!