Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

“Oh they taste like pizza!”  Paul always has the best way of breaking things down.  But in truth, he’s right.  These are fabulous pillows of garlic cheesiness.  They are delicious!

I was feeling garlic this week.  Well, let’s be honest, I’m always feeling garlic.  Garlic, cheese, butter, and chocolate (not necessarily mixed together) are blessings from heaven and should be appreciated and enjoyed as often as possible.

So in my garlic (dare I say) obsession this week, I found this recipe.  In truth, I was hoping for slivers of fresh garlic mixed into the dough.  I suppose I could have done that.  It would’ve been overkill but as someone who adores garlic, that’s not a problem.  Plus, you could always adjust the amount of garlic powder if needed.

However, I have to say these are a wonderful balance of both cheddar cheese and garlic. The butter gives them a lovely hint of creaminess.  Two notes… I needed to use more buttermilk than called for and I doubled the melted butter recipe just to ensure that I had enough to generously lather them up.  Oh, and I didn’t have dried parsley so I used fried Italian herbs.

Go forth, bake, and indulge!

 

Homemade Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (recipe care of handletheheat.com)

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BISCUIT INGREDIENTS:  2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cubed), 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 1/4 cups), 3/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk (very cold)

BUTTER INGREDIENTS:  3tablespoonsmelted butter, 1/2teaspoondried parsley, 1/2teaspoongarlic powder

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter forms pea-sized crumbs. Mix in the cheese. Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined.  Drop the dough by scant 1/4-cup portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 16 to 17 minutes.  While the biscuits are baking, combine the melted butter, parsley, and garlic powder. Brush the biscuits with the garlic butter and serve warm.

Vanilla Biscotti

Hi all! So our beautiful niece, Megan, is getting married to an all around awesome guy, Chase, in January.  The wedding shower is coming up this next Saturday.  Megan, being the lovely, naive sugar muffin that she is, asked me to make Italian cookies to be served as dessert at the shower.  She has this whole Italian theme going and sent me this recipe.

Well, when your niece entrusts you with the responsibility of making dessert for her wedding shower, you step up!  Now I say she is “lovely and naive” because she’s assuming I can pull this off.  I’ve never made biscotti before.  And we all know my blunders in the kitchen when I try something new.

I was on a mission to make this work!  Today was my first attempt.  I have to admit that I had full faith in the recipe from King Arthur Flour; they have very trustworthy recipes.  It all turned out great, flavors were fully on point.  However, I chose not to divide the batter (silly, overly confident me) and ended up making super-sized, ginormous biscotti.

Needless to say, I will be making a smaller version Friday night to bring to the shower on Saturday.  One little note, I used the two teaspoons of vanilla as called for but I also added about 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla paste just for extra punch.

If you choose to dip these in white chocolate, use “baking” white chocolate so that it melts into a delightful creamy, smooth texture.  I placed them in the refrigerator to solidify the chocolate afterwards.

These are perfect to dip into an espresso/coffee drink of your choice.  Indulge!

Vanilla Biscotti (recipe care of kingarthurflour.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  6 tablespoons (85g) butter, 2/3 cup (131g) sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 large eggs, 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, white chocolate for dipping, optional

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a biscotti pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the flour and mix at low speed until the mixture is smooth; the dough will be sticky. Scoop half the dough onto one side of the prepared pan and, using wet hands, pat it into a 10” x 2” rectangle; it should be about 1” thick. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and let cool for 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board and use a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water to lightly spritz them. Wait 5 minutes before using a serrated knife to slice biscotti 1/2” to 3/4” wide. Take care to draw the knife back and forth through the baked log instead of pressing down. Slicing this way will prevent the biscotti from crumbling. Return the slices to the baking sheet, standing them up with 1/2” between them, so air can circulate around them. Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until dry and golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Dip the biscotti in melted white chocolate, if desired. Store airtight at room temperature; they’ll stay good for weeks.

Manchego & Black Pepper Biscuits

Will I ever learn?  Seriously.  Will I?

The flavors of these biscuits were on point.  They’re delicious and would be lovely as a stand alone breakfast treat or as a side kick for a yummy soup or salad.

However the consistency of the biscuit was heavy and thick.  That would be my fault (not at all surprising).

One of us (meaning me) did not carefully read the recipe.  If I had, I would have read that the cheese needed to be added to the dry ingredients.  But noooooooooo!  Because I read the directions out of order (I blame Rachel Ray’s magazine layout; nah, my fault), I added the cheese after all of the ingredients had been combined.

The reason this makes a difference is because the more you “work” a biscuit or scone dough, the heavier it becomes.  Beautifully light and flakey biscuits are just that because you stir all of the ingredients until the dough just comes together.

Well clumsy, non-reading old me kneaded the cheese in with the dough just before forming the biscuits.  I could immediately feel that the dough was not right.

Baking lesson care of Anne Darga:  carefully pre-read the recipe and don’t overwork the dough.

Manchengo & Black Pepper Sour Cream Biscuits (recipe care of Rachel Ray)

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INGREDIENTS:  2 cups flour (plus more for dusting), 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 cups grated Manchego cheese (plus 1/2 cup for topping), 1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper (plus 1/2 tsp for topping), 1 stick butter (very cold), 3/4 cup full-fat sour cream

DIRECTIONS:  In a large bowl, whisk 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Turn the stick of butter in the dry ingredients until coated.  Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter into the bowl.  Using your fingertips, evenly mix in the butter.  Stir in 2 cups grated Manchego cheese and 1 tbsp ground black pepper. Form a well in the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and 1/3 cup very cold water.  Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.  Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet.  Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and pat into a circle about 1 inch thick, dusting with more flour if the dough is sticky.  Using a 2-inch cutter, cut out the biscuits, pressing straight down (do not twist).  Transfer to the sheet.  Gather the dough and repeat patting and cutting until the dough is used up.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper.  Bake until the biscuits are golden and crispy on top, 12 to 15 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

Cheese and Scallion Scones

These are seriously moist pillows of cheesy goodness.  Added bonus: the fresh, scallion flavor.  They are so rich and dairy-filled you will think you’re living on a farm in the rolling green hills of Ireland, dotted by darling black and white cows.

Now, with that said, the recipe is a pain in the arse for various reasons.

First, I arrogantly thought that making scallion scones sounded unique and delicious (and easy).  Ha!  Turns out that the prepped mounds of dough have to be chilled for an hour before baking.  Really?!  Do you think I read the recipe ahead of time?  No!

Then, I stupidly bought blocks of butter from Costco.  This seemed like a great idea and isn’t a problem when a recipe calls for an easily labeled amount.  Unfortunately Costco butter only has 1/4 and 1/3 cup labels, not tablespoons.  Do you think I know how to translate tablespoons into cups?  No!  Oh, and the same thing goes for measuring ounces.  Thank you Siri!

Finally, softened cream cheese is not the easiest thing to “fold” into a scone dough.  It clumps up, and while desperately trying not to overwork the dough you have to break up the clumps.  Do you think I was frustrated at this point?  Yes!

But I gotta say, these are scrumptious!  They’re not a typical scone in that they are incredibly moist (caused by the cream cheese).  However if you will love the buttery, cheesy, scallion flavors that melt in your mouth.  Dive in!

 

Cheese and Scallion Scones (recipe care of whatsgabycooking.com

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INGREDIENTS:  2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 5 tbsp unsalted butter cold (cut into chunks), 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 oz feta cheese crumbled, 3 oz shredded cheddar, 4 ounces cream cheese (softened), 1 cup chopped scallions, 1 egg for egg wash

DIRECTIONS:  Combine the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Next add the various cheeses, cream cheese and scallions. Next add the heavy cream. Fold everything together being careful not to overwork the dough.  Form 12 medium sized mounds out of the dough. The size can vary depending on if you want to stretch the recipe to make more. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once chilled, whisk the egg together with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg wash over the scones and bake for 16-20 minutes until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve with butter, scrambled eggs, bacon etc.

Everything Scones

Holy hell, these are good!  I don’t mean to be crass, or for that matter arrogant, but these are just damn delicious!

When Paul and I were in Phoenix last spring, we visited one of our favorite spots, Phoenix Public Market.  They always have the most inspirational ideas for baked goods.  When I saw their “everything scones,” I knew I was hooked.

Knowing that today is a big day in the Darga household (first NFL Sunday of the season – woot woot!!!), I had to create something special.  In mentioning these scones to Paul, his face lit up and the decision had been made.

Now I’m not gonna lie nor am I bragging when I say this… these are crazy amazing!  They’re so easy to make so this success was definitely not the result my skill level (which is fairly average).  I followed the suggestion of the blogger to use frozen butter instead of just cold butter and it made a huge difference.  The layers are light and flakey, yet the scone is very moist.

Just one suggestion.  When brushing the butter onto the scones before placing them in the oven, I did not hold back.  I lathered them in the melted velvet.  Then I also used an entire container of Everything Seasoning from Trader Joes.  I patted the seasoning into the melted butter and continued to sprinkle more.  I figure, go big or go home.  It was absolutely worth it because the flavors were spot on!

Frozen butter note:  Although it was harder to breakdown, the butter held together which made it easier to cut with my pastry cutter.  I cut the stick of butter into small cubes and placed them in a plastic bag, then into the freezer over night.  I will for sure do this every time I make scones and buttermilk biscuits.  It was a great hint.

Everything Scones (recipe care of mybakingbliss.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  2 cups all purpose flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, ½ cup (unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes), 1 large egg, ½ cup heavy cream cold, ¼ cup everything bagel seasoning

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 400F In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the pieces of cold butter and cut into the dough using a pastry cutter or a fork until texture is a coarse meal. You want the butter to be in small pieces, (similar to making pie crust). Lightly whisk together the heavy cream and egg. Stir into the butter/flour mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Do not over-mix. Lay dough out on a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead with a lightly floured hand about 4 times. Pat the dough out to a rectangle, and cut into circles with a biscuit or cookie cutter. (You can also pat the dough into a circle and cut into triangles). Transfer the scones onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and top with a generous amount of everything seasoning. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

#GR8DAINS

“Blueberry Boy Bait”  That’s just a fabulous nickname for a coffeecake that will be enjoyed by a rockstar bride and her kick arse wedding party!

My dear friend, Laura Bordon/now Laura Dains, got married to an awesome man, Geoff Dains, yesterday.  It was a ridiculously beautiful wedding and quite honestly, ridiculously fun.

Laura had asked me to make some kind of berry coffeecake for Saturday morning so that the mother-of-the-bride and bridesmaids would have something to snack on while getting their hair done.  I was happy to step up.

So on Friday around 5:15 (after a very long week), I googled, “blueberry coffeecake,” and this popped up with five stars.  The minute I saw “Blueberry Boy Bait” I knew it was on!

Now mind you, this week kicked me in the arse and caused me to become braindead and physically exhausted by Friday at 5:15.  However once I changed into house pants, poured myself a glass of prosecco, turned on some good country music, and preheated the oven I felt a little giddy-up slip into my step.  Within minutes I was dancing around the kitchen while singing and talking to Sherman (our trusty golden retriever).  It ended up being a great way to unwind.

All in all, this is a very easy coffeecake and was a total hit with the bridal party and the hairstylists at 19 Blue.  This is definitely a keeper!

Blueberry Coffeecake aka Blueberry Boy Bait (recipe care of onceuponachef.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  

Streusel: 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off), 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cake:  2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened), 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen may be used but do not defrost)

DIRECTIONS:  Make the streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inchsquare pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan. This cake is best served on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well for a few days wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.

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Sawpit, CO

Okay, yes, I know I have an obsession with buttermilk biscuits.  Maybe “obsession” is the wrong word.  It’s really more like an addiction.  But admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

This morning I baked up some buttermilk biscuits with the sole purpose of trying out  some delightfully sweet strawberry preserves that I found in a one street town called Sawpit.  Seriously, Sawpit.  I loved this town!

Sawpit consisted of the Sawpit Mercantile (cafe/shop/liquor store/gas station) and a few houses.  Yep, that’s it.  I would venture to say that the entire town was maybe the length of three city blocks.  In other words if you blink, you’ve missed it.

So when you find yourself in this type of town and you stumble upon preserves made, packaged, and sold in said town, you buy them!

To sum up, I bought Sawpit strawberry and blueberry preserves.  Oh and Sawpit caramel sauce.  Haven’t had a chance to test that one out yet but when I do, I have no doubts that it will be heavenly.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of livewellbakeoften.com)

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INGREDIENTS: 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed, 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold buttermilk (plus more for the tops of the biscuits)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the in the cubed cold butter and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter (you may also use a food processor for this step) until you have small pea sized pieces of butter. Pour the cold buttermilk into the mixture and gently work it together until the dough starts to come together. Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently work it together with your hands. Pat the dough into a rectangle and fold it in thirds. Turn the dough, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat this process two more times. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it down into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle (make sure to measure!). Using a floured 2.5-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. Continue to gather any scrap pieces of dough, patting it back down to 1/2-inch thickness, and cutting it until you have 12 biscuits. I suggest trying to get as many as you can the first time, as you continue to work the dough the biscuits won’t be quite as good. Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet touching each other. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little bit of buttermilk. Bake at 450°F for about 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter if desired. Allow to cool for a few minutes, serve, and enjoy!