Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits!

What do you get when you stick a bunch of food enthusiasts into one room? A whole lot of great ideas!

The conversation started with the topic of cheeses and how I can't ever live without them. One of my ultimate favorites is brie. You can eat them with crackers, you can have them with bread, you can eat them as is, or you can bake it in with anything you'd like. Hence my Baked Brie Pastry Puffs, love brie! My coworker nods in agreement as I drool over my own words and before you know it, we were sharing our brie success stories. Shortly, in the mist of it all, my manger walks in and joins in the discussion. Like all random discussions, the conversation eventually evolved from brie to making biscuits...and that's where the inspiration of this post came about. 

Biscuits... I've never been much of a biscuit person. I eat them, but never feel the need to crave them... until today. After all that talk about biscuits and how you can incorporate a bunch of different ingredients into them...I had to try for myself. To be honest though, the only biscuits I really knew were the instant Pillsbury kind which I think have very misleading commercials, they hardly ever look as good as the ones on TV when I make them. Anyways, point is, I've never really had the homemade kind so why not give it a go?!

Turns out, makings biscuits is ridiculously easy! When my manager told me he makes his own from scratch, I thought he was crazy...for some reason I had always thought biscuits stemmed from a complicated, time consuming process. Maybe I just have it mixed up with something else...OR my skills have advanced! I'd like to think that its mostly option #2, but more likely its because I have it mixed up with another recipe of something I don't even remember. Regardless, if you're like me and have been avoiding this biscuit business... fear not, its not time consuming or complicated. If you're planning to make regular plain ol' biscuits, all you need are: a lengthy list of 4 ingredients, an oven, and you've got yourself some mouthwatering biscuits. Of course, I never settle for regular when there's an option for something more exciting.

Let's jazz things up! Who likes their bacon?! Who loves their cheese!? And who loves the idea of combing the two?! Me! Even though I'm not a bacon lover, I'd have to go down this path. Throw in some shallots and green onions and I can almost taste the results! For this particular experiment, I started on a rather different path than I would normally go and that is I choose the ingredients first then find out about how. Usually I go searching for a recipe for the dish I'd like to make and put my own twists in later. This time, I put the twist in and figure out recipe later. Slightly more challenging but luckily plenty of people had the same idea. So I landed on 2 recipes that were close in what I wanted in my biscuits and went from there. Then, as the old cliche goes, the rest was history. 

Side tangent: As often as I bake, you'd think I'd have some baking powder handy... but indeed I do not, so if you're like me and have everything BUT baking powder at the house, here is a very good method for making your own baking powder from Smitten Kitchen.



Adapted from:
Makes 6-7 standard sized biscuits
Ingredients:
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • ¼ cup of shallots, diced
  • ¼ cup of green onions, diced
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ cup of butter, grated or cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Procedures:
    1. Sauté shallot, green onion, and bacon together, set aside to cool while preparing the dough
    2. Mix the dry ingredients together and then add in grated butter/ butter cubes. If butter is grated, the butter is easier to incorporate into the flour but if butter is cubed, may need a hand pastry blender.
    3. Add in buttermilk, cheese, and bacon mix into the dough batter. Mix together and knead dough.
    4. Flatten or roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Cut out biscuit using biscuit cutter (or a sturdy cookie cutter will work too)
    5. Bake in oven for approx 15 minutes at 400 degrees

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