I don’t think life gets any better than this. One of my greatest pleasures in life is an early-bird lunch at Red Lobster with my adorable Grandma. It’s been a tradition of ours ever since I can remember. We’d drive up to her house in the Amana Colonies, arriving around 10 am. By 11:15, she was ready to go, and after a quick 25 minute drive to Coralville near Iowa City, we were among the first to arrive just before noon. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a big fan of seafood. I remember always ordering flounder and feeling incredibly adventurous if one of my family members could coerce me into trying a bite of their shrimp or scampi or lobster. I usually obliged, but was always content to eat my flounder with fries, and of course as many Cheddar Bay biscuits as I could get my hands on. My love for these little balls of dough, cheese and herbs was apparently so well known that to this day, my Grandma always asks for extra biscuits right off the bat to satisfy my cravings. Now that I only get to make this trip about once a year, if I’m lucky, it makes the moment even more special (and satisfying!). So imagine my sheer happiness when, last week, completely randomly, I came across the world’s easiest recipe, promising to replicate those famous biscuits to the T.
Needless to say, the same evening as soon as I got home, I set to work in the kitchen to make my very own Red Lobster-style biscuits. Since I live in France, I didn’t have any cheddar on hand. But I did have everything else needed to make these beauties, including a nice, spicy hunk of Comté cheese and just enough Boursin (a whipped cow’s milk cheese flavored with garlic and herbs) to make a difference. The best part of the whole recipe? No fussy yeast, only a healthy dose of baking powder, and everything came together in one bowl in about 2 minutes flat. And since these are drop biscuits, a 1/4 cup measuring cup was all I needed to portion out the batter. It could not have been easier, and the end result was exactly what I was looking for. Despite my lack of cheddar, I felt a huge wave of nostalgia when eating these, as they really were almost exactly like the real thing. They were full of flavor and kind of stuck to the roof of my mouth and they were everything I ever could have hoped for in a copycat biscuit. What could be better?
P.S. We ate these the first day with some fabulous old-school scrambled eggs that were amped up with some crispy bits of lardons. It was nothing shy of amazing. On day two, the biscuits were the perfect carb-y side dish to a nice spring salad and a so-good-it’s-bad baked camembert that I’ll post about later this week…
Buttery, cheesy drop biscuits
Adapted slightly from Damn Delicious
Ingrédients (makes about 10-12 biscuits; batter can be stored in the fridge for later use):
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon piment d’espelette or Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, preferably Cheddar for the original! (I used comté and a bit of Boursin, and it was a lovely mix)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder + a heavy pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 450° and prepare a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and buttermilk (or make your own, placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in your measuring cup, filling the rest of the way up with milk and letting stand for 10 minutes). Add in the dry ingredients and stir gently until the batter is moist, but lumpy. Add the cheese.
Scoop batter into mounds on your baking sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between biscuits. Bake for 10-12 minutes until nice and golden. Whisk the remaining butter, parsley, garlic and salt in a small bowl and brush on top as soon as they come out of the oven. Eat immediately!
If, like me, you live in a two-person household and the thought of halving this recipe just seems ridiculous, simply bake half of the biscuits the first day, cover the bowl of batter and place in the fridge. The next day the batter will be stiff, but simply spoon it onto your baking sheet and bake as usual, they’ll be just as good!