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The Trouble with Biscuits

Posted By Suzanne McMinn On January 10, 2013 @ 6:39 am In Quick Mix,The Farmhouse Table | 101 Comments

Nearly four years ago, I experimented with a recipe to reproduce the “Cheddar Bay” biscuits from Red Lobster. I love those biscuits, but it’s extremely rare for me to go out to eat, much less to a Red Lobster. I came up with a delicious, flavorful drop biscuit that was everything I wanted it to be. It became my kids’ favorite biscuit recipe, hands down. When I fix these biscuits, after I take them out of the oven and am getting the rest of dinner together, I will find my kids gathered around the pan of biscuits stuffing their faces. There is no other biscuit recipe I make that elicits that kind of biscuit response–unbridled attack on the pan. They’ll eat them up like candy. No added butter is needed, making it even easier to eat them up like candy. They’re already bursting with moist buttery, cheesy goodness.

Recipes I share on this here little ol’ blog thing are just that for the most part–my family’s favorite recipes. Sometimes I like to do recipe experiments, trying new things or old things or things I’ve never heard of before, but mostly, it’s just my family’s favorite recipes. There’s one of me and many thousands of you, so I wouldn’t expect every reader to love every recipe, but I’m certainly not out to get anyone. I don’t share a recipe unless I really like it. Sometimes, I get negative comments, and that’s okay. I don’t stop people from posting negative comments on my recipes. Have at it. But for some reason, this particular recipe has generated some of the most strident comments I’ve ever received on a recipe. (Ongoing, despite the fact that this is one of my older recipes that’s been on my site since 2009.)

Here’s one:

Hi, I just wanna say that I’ve tried making this recipe THREE times and I can wholeheartedly say that this is a terrible recipe. I’m an experienced cook and baker, have been cooking and baking many years, won cooking competitions and all that jazz. I have never, EVER, dealt with a recipe just to be made very disappointed for three times. It’s so bloody runny! It couldn’t hold its own when I scooped it onto the casserole dish. And when it’s done baking, once I bite into it, the texture is horrible! Like an underdone spongy shortbread. So bad to the point of being disgusting. The flavor wasn’t disastrous, but the texture was just.. Tsk. I’m lost for words. I followed this recipe to the T. Yet even after experimenting on the 2nd and 3rd attempt where I tried using less milk, chilled the batter before baking it, etc etc. Nothing works. Thanks so much for wasting my time.

And another:

This is the second time I have made these biscuits, following the recipe exactly. They have (again) turned out as a runny greasy batter, rather than a biscuit dough. I used bisquck baking mix this time and added 1 more additional cup of mix until it resembled tradional dough. I am not a beginning cook, I am a sixty plus granny who has been cooking since I was 12, I am considered a great cook.
Your recipe needs tweaking especially since you are portraying yourself as some kind of a domestic goddess.

First, at least one person is going to leave a comment on this post telling me I shouldn’t respond to negative comments. At least one person is going to email me slapping my hand for “calling out” the commenters, and possibly at least one person is even going to call me to say the same thing. (Yes, people find my phone number.) The comments were left voluntarily and publicly on my very public website. I don’t know their real names, but I’m not even using their usernames here (though you can find them by looking back at the original post here where you can see the comments as they were posted). I get comments that annoy me sometimes, but nothing annoys me more than being told what I can or can’t post. Most of the comments I get here make my day, so that’s just the way life is, you take the bad along with the good, and this website has brought so much love into my life from readers that I can’t complain. Sometimes I am flat bowled over by the kindness and generosity of you who read this site. Yesterday, I was feeling slightly irked when I went to the post office. I checked my box and there was a sweet card from a reader who had bought three jars of my apple butter last fall. She included a check for $15 saying it was so good, she felt I had undercharged for the pints and wanted to pay more for them. (Thank you, Marie.) It came at a good time when I was feeling, as I said, slightly irked, reminding me that the goodness of people always far outweighs the bad.

A lot of times, I will completely ignore negative comments, but in this case I’m going to respond for two reasons. One, because it entertains me to do so, but primarily because this is a great recipe and negative comments such as these can lead people to think they shouldn’t try the recipe, that something is wrong with it.

There’s nothing wrong with this recipe. Since 2009, I’ve made this recipe countless times. Measured and prepared as directed, it results in a delicious biscuit. An individual may prepare this recipe and not like the result, but the result is as intended nonetheless. I can’t guarantee that any individual will like a recipe just because I do, but that doesn’t reflect on the recipe but on individual taste.

How to make Ultimate Cheddar Bay Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups milk

Note: If using a baking mix, replace first 5 ingredients with 2 1/2 cups baking mix.

Place first 5 ingredients (or 2 1/2 cups baking mix) in a large bowl. Add cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Work in the butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in cheese then add sour cream and milk. Scoop biscuit dough out by big spoonfuls and place in a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan. (Or other type of pan with an edge to it–if you use a flat baking sheet, butter sauce will spill down into your oven.)


6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
dash of salt

Melt butter. Stir in garlic powder, parsley, and a dash of salt. Spoon half of topping over unbaked biscuits. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.* After removing biscuits from the oven, spoon the rest of the topping over them.

*Your baking time may vary due to the size you scoop your biscuits. When I make this recipe, I make 20 biscuits in a 9 x 13 pan.

If 20 biscuits is too much, of course you can cut the recipe in half.

Now let me point out an obvious fact–this is a drop biscuit recipe. It is meant to be scooped by the spoonful into the pan, not patted and rolled out and cut. That said, it does not yield a runny dough. Let me demonstrate.

I use my homemade Quick Mix. Here it is measured out exactly to 2 1/2 cups (with the recipe printed out from Farm Bell Recipes).

You can use another baking mix, or you can make the recipe from scratch if you prefer, using the directions. Cut in the butter.

Stir in the cheese.

Add 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 1/4 cups milk–here you see it measured out.

It makes a moist dough, but not runny. See how the dough stands up on the spoon.

First biscuit plopped into the pan, holding its shape.

Ready for the oven.

Out of the oven–use whatever means necessary to hold back the kids because you can forget about what else you made for dinner, all anyone is going to care about is the biscuits.

Now, I could go on to address the more entertaining features of the above two comments. One stated that she tried the recipe three times (apparently without learning anything) and the other one stated twice, all the while assuring me emphatically that they are fantastic cooks. But what is probably more entertaining is the FERVOR of the comments, leading them to deride me as a so-called domestic goddess and sarcastically thanking me for wasting their time. (Did I make her try the recipe three times?)

That is the trouble with biscuits–but also the peace that is within them. Biscuits are SIGNIFICANT. Forget about world hunger, warfare, and tragic disasters, we’re talking biscuits here! IMPORTANT STUFF. If you dare to post a BISCUIT recipe that doesn’t suit someone, they’ll take your head off.

And while that is mostly ridiculous, there is also something soothing in that fact. No matter what dire events are posed in the world today, biscuits still take us straight to the beating hearts of our lives. A good biscuit is home, safety, love, and comfort all rolled up in one buttery, flaky little package.

So go ahead, beat me over my biscuits, the more for me and the kids. I’m just glad you think they’re important.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

See All My Recipes

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