Buttermilk-cornmeal drop biscuits with honey butter

December 2011, pg. 87

Buttermilk Cornmeal Biscuits

Buttermilk-cornmeal drop biscuits with honey butter recipe 

These biscuits were going to be a perfect addition to our leftover chicken and gravy.  No honey butter for us.  I’m sure it would have been a nice addition to the biscuits if we ate them for breakfast or brunch.  I only help out with the sweeter recipes, and we don’t get as much exercise this time of year, so I reduce sugar when possible.

The biscuits were very easy and quick to make.  It is a perfect addition to a meal if you don’t have a lot of time or don’t feel like thinking too much.  The only problem I had with making the dough was it was very thin, like a batter.  I’m going to take complete blame for the dough/batter because I did use the powdered buttermilk again.  Last month when I made the black pepper buttermilk biscuits the dough was very wet.  Next time I use powdered buttermilk to make a dough, I’m going to add the water slowly and not just use the amount of water the powdered buttermilk container calls for.  So my finished product was a thin biscuit.

Looking far from perfect, the biscuits tasted great!  I really like cornbread, my husband not as much.  However, he had very positive comments regarding the texture of the biscuits from the cornmeal and I completely agree with him.  The honey provided a perfect amount of sweetness to the biscuit.

Biscuits with chicken and Gravy

Pat and I both had the leftover biscuits for breakfast without butter, honey butter, or jam.  They are sweet enough by themselves, but I’m sure if you wanted to add a spread, the honey butter would be delicious.

cheddar bay biscuits and gravy

Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Gravy: G goes rogue again

B made fun of how this looks.  She's just jealous she couldn't eat it.  :P

B made fun of how this looks. She’s just jealous she couldn’t eat it. 😛

The November 2007 Everyday Food recipe is focused on Thanksgiving, so it should come as no surprise that it has waaay more sides than main dishes.  This is great for your average home cook.  Your average home cook isn’t trying to make everything in the issue in a month.  B and I had to get creative to use up all of those side dish recipes.  So my biscuits became a breakfast.  I was walking around downtown thinking to myself about what to do with cheddar biscuits.  I kept thinking “cheddar biscuits, cheddar biscuits”…  Then a wonderful voice in my head added one simple word and said, softly, “cheddar bay biscuits.”  We all have our chain food vices, right?  For D and I, it’s Red Lobster.  I love the fried shrimp and those cheddar bay biscuits.  So I decided to work in some “bay” in the cheddar biscuit recipe by borrowing from some copycat recipes on the internet.  Before I move on to the “and gravy” part…Kyle Kinane’s bit about cheddar bay biscuits and Michael Jackson is genius.  Enjoy.

I had my cheddar bay idea, but I was still stuck on what to serve it with.  Then another genius voice in my head said “biscuits and gravy.”  Like a before and after puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, my head put it together: cheddar bay biscuits and gravy.  Boom.

Ok, this is a combination of three different recipes, so bear with me.  I started with the original Everyday Food Buttermilk Biscuits recipe (Cheddar Variation), but make some cheddar bay changes.  (Here’s a pretty good Cheddar Bay Biscuits copycat recipe that I used as inspiration.)  Follow the Everyday Food recipe with these variations:

1)When you mix all the dry ingredients together, add a teaspoon of garlic powder.  I messed up and forgot it at that step so I had to add it with the cheddar when I kneaded it all together.  That worked out, but I was definitely afraid of over-working the dough.  I should have added it with the dry ingredients.

2)  As for the cheddar part of cheddar bay, the cheddar variation is only in the magazine.  At the part where you knead the dough to combine it, you add 2 cups of grated cheddar.  The recipe also says to add more to the top, but holy moley, that’s already a ton of cheese.  I love cheese more than the next gal, and I left it off of the top.

3)  To finish up the cruise to cheddar bay, I brushed the tops with parsley and melted butter.  Some of the copycat recipes had you mix dried parsley in with the dough, but I don’t have dried parsley and I didn’t think buttermilk biscuits with cheddar cheese and garlic really needed much more!

I had to step back the heat on my oven to about 425 instead of 450 because my biscuits were bigger than the ones in the magazine.  I cut them out with the top of a rocks glass.

Look what washed up on the shores of Cheddar Bay!

Look what washed up on the shores of Cheddar Bay!

Ok, that’s your cheddar bay biscuits.  I must admit that they do not taste exactly like the ones from Red Lobster.  The ones from Red Lobster are far more buttery, but have far less cheese and garlic flavor.  I think you could double the amount of butter and halve the amount of cheese and garlic to approximate the restaurant experience, but I hope you’ll try it my way.

On to the “n’ gravy”.  I got the sausage gravy recipe from the internet only after none of the packages of Jimmy Dean sausage at the grocery store had a recipe for sausage gravy on the side.  C’mon, Dean!  I took this recipe, halved it (huge mistake, we wound up wanting more gravy), but bumped the sausage back up to a 1/3 lb.  I did use whole milk because I have a toddler in the house and one of the perks is that you have whole milk around for cooking and baking.

So how was it?  Do you even have to ask?  It was cheddar bay biscuits with sausage gravy on top.  It was super good.  I just wish I would have made more.  Luckily, I have four more biscuits in the freezer ready to bake.


Buttermilk Biscuits: Two Ways

Buttermilk Biscuits

The November 2007 issue included a fairly awesome buttermilk biscuit recipe, along with three suggested variations.  I made the mixed herb variation, M made the black pepper variation, and G went really rogue on the cheddar variation which you will soon learn about in another post.

Those little flecks are flavor.

Those little flecks are flavor.

Like many other recipes in this issue, I could only find the base recipe for buttermilk biscuits but no discussion of the variations.  So basically, if you want to make the mixed herb variation, do this:

In step 1, add a 1/2 cup of your favorite fresh chopped herbs.  I did a blend of thyme, chives, and dried parsley (because it’s what I had).  Add less of the intensely flavored herbs live thyme and rosemary (if you choose rosemary) and more of the lighter herbs like parsley and chives.

*adpated from page 48, November 2007, issue 47

It is a pretty simple recipe.  You make the dough, you roll the biscuits out, you cut them out, you bake them.  No surprises.  They are really tasty.  I loved the flavor of chive in the biscuits.  I just ate them straight.  They were so flavorful they didn’t need butter.  After the second or third one, I started to realize how salty they were.  Salty in a good way, but easily that salt could have been cut without really cutting the flavor.

I mentioned this to M before she made the black pepper variation.  Let’s hear about it, M!

If you want to make the cracked black pepper variation do the following:

In step 1 add 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper to the dry flour mixture.  In step 3 after brushing biscuits with butter, sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon more cracked black pepper.

*adapted from page 48, Issue #47, November 2007

Biscuits with cracked black pepper.

Biscuits with cracked black pepper.

I completely agree with B and the simplicity of the buttermilk biscuits.  I did stray from the actual recipe for two ingredients.  Following B’s recommendation, I decreased the salt to only 1.25 teaspoons not two.  I also used a cultured buttermilk powder (which you can find at most grocery stores in the baking aisle with the flour and sugar).  My mom turned me onto the powdered buttermilk because I hate wasting food and I would never use all of the fresh buttermilk that I would buy.  So powder it is and I think it works great!

I did find the biscuit dough very wet before adding flour to it on the work surface.  It reminded me of drop biscuit batter.  In the future if I want to cut corners with the recipe I may just drop the dough on a cookie sheet and bake them that way.  The dough was fine once I added quite a bit of flour to it.

I served my biscuits for dinner as a side to vegetarian chili.  They went very well together.  P and I really liked the black pepper flavor and of course the butter!  I must confess my biscuits don’t look quite as nice as B’s, for at least two reasons.  First, I don’t have a round cookie cutter, so I used a football.  Second, I blame it all on my less than mediocre oven.