Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cheese-Herb Biscuit Cups

I love freshly baked breads.  It just feels homey and peaceful to me.  I never imagine bread-baking happening in a stressful environment.  I always feel like when someone walks into my house and they are met with the smell of baking bread wafting from the kitchen, it is like a subliminal message that says: "exhale.  relax.  it's safe and warm here.  good things are coming."

Here at the camp, I am often cooking for teams of volunteers who are far from home, usually jet-lagged and tired, and often a little stressed with the strangeness of a new place and the demanding schedule.  So homey and peaceful is just what they need served up in a meal.

The problem:  breads can take a lot of effort.  They can be tricky.  They mess up your counter with all that flour.  It takes so much TIME. 

The solution:  my back-pocket roll recipe.  I've always got this one ready to pull out and whip together.  It's a quick bread, no yeast involved, so that makes it super simple, and the Italian (-ish) flavors make it perfect to accompany a big pot of spaghetti or pan of lasagna.  No crazy ingredients, either.  I always have everything on hand.

Try it.  This is a really easy one, you can do it.  This is NOT one of those "wow that looks really cute and I'm pinning it on Pinterest but let's face it  -- I will never even seriously consider making it" recipes.  This is one of those that you'll pull out all the time because it's easy, quick and makes people go "aaahhhh".

The step-by-step 

Mix dry ingredients

First preheat the oven. I'll make a guess at 350F. (Oven temps here are not too reliable). Now mix up the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Give it a good whisking to get everything all incorporated evenly.

Add remaining ingredients

Then add the shredded cheese. Stir it in so that the cheese is all coated with the flour mixture.  You're half done.  See?  Told you it was easy.

Now add the milk and the mayonnaise. No need to use a mixer.  A wooden spoon works just dandy.

At this point the dough looks really gooey and strange and probably not like you imagine it should look.  Trust me, it's supposed to be like that.  

Scoop out into muffin cups

Now, scoop out the batter into your lined (or well-greased) muffin cups.  For this particular recipe, I really like using my silicon cupcake liners.  Since paper cupcake liners are hard to come by here, it's great to have these guys on hand, since you can just wash and re-use.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full.  I use my trusty ice-cream scoop for this. Way easier than the two-spoon method.  (See previous post about how much I love my scoop).


Stick 'em in the oven. Bake 17-20 minutes.  (If your oven is uneven like mine, rotate them halfway through).

Now, let cool a little, (not too much-- they are so good warm!) and serve up these little bites of herby, cheesy, delicious comfort.  Watch everyone slouch into their chairs a little.  Then pass the basket around again.

 The Recipe:

(makes 24 rolls)

4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons EACH: granulated garlic, oregano, basil, dried onion, dill
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven 350F (=175C).

Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly.

Stir in shredded cheese until it's all coated with the flour mixture.

Add the mayonnaise and milk, stir together until there are no dry spots. Divide the batter between 20 muffin cups, that have been lined with paper or silicone liners (or greased really well).

Bake 17-20 minutes until tops begin to appear golden brown.

Remove from pans.  Cool and eat.