I’ll return to my culinary posts with this multiple dose of cheesy goodness. This all started thanks to biscuit bread, you know the kind in a can. These biscuits are also known as American biscuit bread because they are soft and leaven while biscuits in other places such as England are hard, flat and unleavened. American biscuits are made with baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast and are also known as quick breads because they don’t need to rise before baking.
Biscuits are especially popular in the south. They are great with butter, jam, mashed potatoes and gravy or as a sausage sandwich. Basically biscuits are the best (says the woman who grew up in the south). One reason for the popularity of biscuits in the south may be due to the better climate for growing the soft winter wheat, which produces the flour used in not only biscuits but also cookies, cakes and muffins. In the north, the colder climate means that hard spring wheat is grown there, which is used in all-purpose flour.
I love biscuits with butter. To quote Nora Ephron: “You can never have too much butter”. Never. But after a while, even I got tired of the plain old biscuit and butter routine. One day, I decided to shake it up. I raided my pantry and fridge in search of ingredients I could mix with my biscuits. What I found was shredded cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, salt and of course butter. Not much to go on but it was worth a try.
Garlic Cheese Balls
For my first iteration of this recipe, I decided to make cheese balls. I took the biscuit dough and pulled apart each half of each one. Then I flattened them down with my hands, which I found to be easier than using a rolling pin. Afterwards I grabbed some shredded cheese and placed it in the middle, then wrapped it up into a ball. The amount of cheese depends on how much will fit inside each ball. The next process involves getting a bit messy.
First I melted some butter. How much will depend on many balls you are making. You can start with half a stick and adjust from there. After that I added the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and salt to the butter. Mix it up well and then dip and coat in of your balls into the mixture. Set the coated balls onto a baking sheet – I advise covering it with parchment paper or foil since there will probably bit a bit of a mess later (see photos). Once all balls are coated you can start baking them. Follow the temperature and time instructions on the biscuit can but also check them every few minutes to make sure they don’t get overcooked.
That’s it! These turned out the most delicious thing I had ever created without using someone else’s recipe, so I was very proud despite the few cheese explosions that occurred. For an alternate version of this you can use minced garlic rather than garlic powder to give it more texture and flavor.
Butter and Herb Biscuit Burritos
My second iteration takes a Mexican twist. As the previous recipe, first you pull apart the dough and and flatten it. Then create a mixture of 3 tbs melted butter with 1/2 tsp of each of the following: garlic and onion powder, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and salt. Take 1/2 tsp of the mixture and spread it onto the biscuit. Add the shredded cheese. Next roll the dough up into a burrito shape and spread the same mixture all over it. Bake in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes. Done!
Cheesy Herb Muffins
My third iteration makes great use of my mini cupcake pan. Break the biscuit dough up into small pieces (whatever size will work for your cupcake/muffin tray) and then place them all in a large bowl. Add 3 tbs of melted butter, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp parsley, and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix this all together coating the biscuit pieces. Coat each of the cupcake spots with some butter. If you’re using a large cupcake pan put about 3 pieces inside each spot. For a small/mini pan, one piece per spot should be fine. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. Eat!
For the final iteration, I tried making empandas. While this one also followed the same basic pattern as the others, I added something extra to them, onions. The reason for that was because I already had chopped up onions in the fridge and wanted to do something with them. Again I broke up the biscuit dough but this time I used a rolling pin so that I could make them as large a circle as possible without making them too thin to hold weight. Afterwards I added shredded cheese and onions to the center and then folded them in half. I pinched down the sides; sometimes I had to roll them a bit to get them to stay together. Then I coated the outside with melted butter. For cooking time and temperature, I followed the biscuit can instructions.
In the end, these were not as flavorful as I had hoped. For an alternate version, I would recommend adding more things to the filling, such as some kind of ground beef or turkey, fresh chopped garlic and maybe green onions. I would also create a butter mixture like I did with the previous recipes that has all the herbs in it and use that to coat both the inside and outside of the empanada.
I hope you have fun with these recipes and if you try any let me know what you think. Happy Eating!