The View from My Kitchen

Benvenuti! I hope you enjoy il panorama dalla mia cucina Italiana -- "the view from my Italian kitchen,"-- where I indulge my passion for Italian food and cooking. From here, I share some thoughts and ideas on food, as well as recipes and restaurant reviews, notes on travel, and a few garnishes from a lifetime in the entertainment industry.

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Grazie mille!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Recipe: “Red Lobster-like” Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Red Lobster's “Cheddar Bay Biscuits” are always a huge hit with restaurant patrons. So much so that they've produced a prepackaged mix that you can buy to make your own. But don't bother. The recipe below will produce biscuits just like the ones you get at Red Lobster for a fraction of the cost of the store-bought mix.

We do a lot of catering for office parties, birthday celebrations, wedding receptions, and the like. So we're always on the lookout for great, simple party food. These biscuits fill the bill perfectly, especially when you “mini-size” them.

This is a basic drop biscuit recipe. If you use an ice cream scoop and make them full-size, you'll get about a dozen biscuits. If you use a rounded tablespoon or a mini-scoop, you'll get 3 ½ to 4 dozen.

“Red Lobster-like” Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

For the biscuits:
2 1/2 cups baking mix (we prefer Jiffy, but Bisquick works)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated mild or sharp cheddar cheese

To top:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine the baking mix and baking powder with cold butter. You can use a pastry cutter, a wooden spoon, or your hands, but don't over mix. You should wind up with pea-size chunks of butter in the mix. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Continue mixing until everything is combined into a shaggy mass of dough. Again, don't over mix.

Using an ice cream scoop (for full-size) or a rounded tablespoon or mini-scoop (for mini-size), drop portions of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake full-size biscuits for 15 to 17 minutes or minis for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

While the biscuits are baking, melt 4 tablespoons of butter on the stove or in the microwave. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes.

As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, while still piping hot, brush the tops generously with the garlic butter mixture then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

The biscuits are best served warm, but they are still good when made ahead and rewarmed in a low oven for a few minutes. Don't microwave them; they'll get rubbery.

As I always preach, quality ingredients lead to quality results. You can use margarine and skim milk and cheap plastic cheese in this recipe, but the biscuits won't taste anything like the real thing. If you want the real thing, use real ingredients.

Buon appetito!

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