Saturday, April 30, 2011

Salvaged biscuits

Sometimes when I cook something that I've made before, I go on automatic pilot.

That's what happened this morning with the Emeril cheddar cheese biscuits that I made (but this time without the cheddar cheese).

Instead of adding 1/4 cup of milk, I spaced and put a full cup into the dry ingredients. As soon as the milk hit the bowl, I immediately realized my mistake. My first reaction was to grab a plastic bag to pour the ruined batter into, which would then go into the trash. But I stopped myself.

All I needed to do was change the amount of salt, baking powder, baking soda, shortening and milk. The challenge was that I had used the rest of the shortening in the original batter. And I didn't have any butter on hand (I need to go to the supermarket this morning after I post this!). So what did I do? I took a deep breath and added vegetable oil and hoped for the best.

The salvaged batter looked like this:

Because I had made this biscuit recipe on numerous occasions, I could tell the difference in the texture of the batter. It was more moist and elastic than usual. Despite the trepidation that I felt, I forged ahead. Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what the salvaged version of the biscuits would be like.

Into the oven they went. When they came out, I saw that they had spread and connected to each other. The biscuit batter should be free-standing and fairly firm. But the taste was actually not that bad. The biscuits were softer on the inside than they would have been had I made the recipe correctly. But they were still crisp on the outside. It's not clear to me that I would want my biscuits to taste this way on a regular basis. But the objective of salvaging them paid off. They were more than edible. They were actually fairly tasty!

By the way, here is the original Emeril Lagasse recipe (from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993) for the cheddar drop biscuits:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

1 cup shredded Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a pie tin.

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. The dough will be slightly sticky.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and drop into the pie tin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve right from the oven.

Yield: 4 biscuits

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