Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Garlic and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits

In trying to adjust to Michigan's cold weather, hot soup has become a new favorite lunch of mine. I usually like to eat it with garlic toast, but when I unexpectedly found myself without bread today, let's just say, the idea of layering back up to brave the 42 degree weather didn't appeal to me since I had just gotten home (and warm). 
I decided a nice cheesy biscuit, similar in flavor to the ones at Red Lobster, would be a great accompaniment to my carrot-ginger soup; however, I didn't have any cheddar cheese... since avoiding a trip outside was my main goal in making the biscuits, I knew I needed to be creative. After surveying the contents of my cheese drawer, I was enamored with the idea of putting goat cheese into my biscuits. A quick google search taught me my moment of creativity was by no means unique.  
After I quit pouting over the fact that my idea wasn't exactly original, I found a terrific starter recipe at Joy the Baker, a wonderful blog that's given me reliably good recipes in the past. After a few adjustments to suit my own tastes, I had one of the most delicious biscuits I've eaten to date. The biscuit rose beautifully, creating a very fluffy, tender crumb. Rivaling its texture was the biscuit's flavor: there was just a whisper of garlic that played nicely with the subtle tanginess of the goat cheese, which had literally melted into biscuit.

All in all, this one great biscuit recipe. So seriously, go make yourself some biscuits soon -- you won't be sorry you did!

Garlic and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Yield: 8-9 large biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted*
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup of buttermilk**

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9 or 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. If you have a cast iron pan, that is even better.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Incorporate the butter and goat cheese into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, two butter knives, or my favorite -- your clean fingertips -- until the mixture becomes course and resembles pebbly crumbs.  The faster you do this, the better: you want your butter to stay cold!

Make a well in the center of your mixture and then pour in the buttermilk. Using a small spatula, stir the dough until it just comes together and there is no more dry flour to be seen. It will be sticky.
Using a quarter-cup measurement, spoon the dough into the greased cake pan. It's okay if the biscuits lightly touch each other. Top with more freshly ground pepper.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Note: I had to turn on the broiler for a minute or so after the 16 minute mark in order to get my biscuits to brown nicely.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy while warm!

*I really recommend White Lily brand all-purpose flour for this recipe, which is known for biscuit making in the South. It helps make the biscuits super tender. If you can't find White Lily or don't want to purchase another flour, any all-purpose flour will work just fine. You could also try this trick to help give the biscuits a more delicate crumb: use 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup cake flour.

**If you don't have buttermilk and are avoiding a trip to the grocery store like I was today, pour about a teaspoon of lemon juice into your cup measurement and then top off with regular milk; let it stand for 10-15 minutes in order to curdle. It's a great substitution!

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