Friday, October 14, 2005

The Satisfaction of Disastrous Biscuits

This is the recipe printed on the tiny brown card that accompanied the biscuits at BLT Fish:

Cheddar & Chive Biscuits

Flour: 1 1/2 cups
Baking Powder: 2 teaspoons
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Cayenne Pepper: 1/4 teaspoon
Shortening: 3 tablespoons
Butter: 3 tablespoons
Chopped Chives: 1 tablespoon
Sharp Cheddar: 1 cup
Cream: 1 1/4 cups

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour mix. Do NOT overwork. DO leave the butter and shortening in small pieces.

Toss in the chives and cheese. Toss in the cream, stirring just until mixture comes together. DO NOT mix too much.

Bake at 375F for 15-17 minutes.

And yes, the CAPS were a part of the printed instructions. So charming! So quaint! Such a perfectly perfect thing to give out at a fancy-schmancy restaurant.

Naturally, I had to make them MYSELF. Quick: does anyone see anything wrong with this recipe? I didn't hear any alarm bells when I read through it, but perhaps that is because I haven't made biscuits for, like, YEARS. I can't even remember when I last made biscuits.

So anyway. I rustled up all the ingredients, and got to work, dreaming of that wonderful dinner while I grated cheese and chopped chives. As I poured the cream into a measuring cup, I thought: Gosh darn it all, that is a LOT of cream. A cup and a quarter? Whoa! There is a baby calf out there somewhere who is missing out on dinner! But I just forged on ahead, and poured the whole amount into the bowl, stirring just once or twice so as to not OVERMIX.

And then I had squidgy, splooshy, vanilla-colored muck. Is this what biscuit dough usually looks like? I thought to myself, feeling a stab of PANIC. I don't remember it being so...gloppy. But I went ahead and scooped roughly spherical blobs onto a baking sheet, and stuck it in the oven, hoping for the best. Prior to embarking on the recipe, I had a vision of surprising my sweetie with a plate full of floury, biscuit-y goodness. I had even purchased a nice bottle of maple syrup to pour over a wedge of Plugra butter, all the better to replicate our lovely New York dinner. But alas.

Inside the oven, the cheese and butter got all warm and happy, and melted into the cream, and the lot of them had a fun, oozy bubble-fest. Not long after, I opened the oven door to discover a baking sheet full of chive-studded saturated fat, with nary a biscuit in sight.

My prized recipe was a SHAM! I grabbed the card off of the counter and read it again, this time with a scornful eye. Since when do you put nearly as much liquid as dry ingredients into a recipe that also contains fat that will melt during cooking?! This recipe was supposed to make biscuits, not SOUP! And what about all that cheese and cream that I just wasted? Waaaahh.

But secretly, I was glad. Because, you see, that last post was all so sweet and fuzzy that some part of me didn't want the biscuits to turn out. It would have been a ghastly chore to write about the Perfect Biscuits that reminded us of a Perfect Dinner, and how comfort food truly is comforting, yadda yadda YUCK.

So they were a disaster, and that turned out to be good news in the END.


At 4:19 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I hate it when that happens... I really am not a baker.. to much chemistry and no personal patience.

At 7:10 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Rats, no photo?!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

One more thing: I was horrified, so I Googled "BLT Fish biscuits", and came across a publication that claims to have made them successfully. The difference (or maybe you missed this in your recipe) is that they cooked the biscuits in a muffin tin. Still, I'm dubious.
Bummer. Fun. Schadenfreude.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Catherine said...

The cynic in me says they printed the recipe wrong on purpose, a la the French who are famous for never giving out an entirely correct recipe lest someone else replicate their magic.

At 2:55 AM, Blogger kitchenmage said...

wow! id almost think it was supposed to be just 1/4 cup cream, and thus it was a typo, but that's not enough either... i looked at the link cookiecrumb posted and while she may be right that the muffin tin helped--giving it a more popover effect maybe? not having eaten them im clueless--but how do they mix it in a KA for a minute while "not overmixing" or was that "NOT OVERMIXING"? that might have made a difference too, one minute in a KA is a lot of gluten development for biscuits; i have bread that gets about that much time!

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
Maybe you've heard of Alinea. I don't know if you'll like it but I figured you might like to read about it and enjoy the pictures!

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

All: thanks for your input about why the biscuits went wrong... I may try again with a slightly altered recipe, but then again, there are so many recipes on my "must make" list! We shall see what time and the fates allow... (smile)

At 4:58 PM, Blogger farmgirl said...

This was a great post--so entertaining and well written. I am still smiling. Who cares that the biscuits didn't turn out. This was way better. Like you said, what would you have written about then? Absolutely love the starving calf. : )

P.S. I've never made biscuits or scones (and I'm a complete Sconehead) with heavy cream--only milk or milk with a little yogurt mixed in.

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