Last night, two hours into a kitchen disaster that left dishes in the sink, flour on the counters and about a dozen buckwheat ravioli in the freezer (i.e., pasta with the texture of burlap), I gave thanks for the thing we call cooking.

Because last night, cooking was part something to do, part a way to release energy and part an opportunity to be creative with concrete objects I could see, even if I turned those objects into tough dough set in thick sheets that didn’t cut well. I am thankful cooking adapts to our days, adjusts to our needs.

cheddar-garlic biscuits

It has been, at times, a way to relax. At others, a chance to feel productive. The night before Thanksgiving, while I made a pie around midnight, it was the only thing that could keep my mind occupied. On the Saturday after, while I made another pie and then these cheddar-garlic biscuits, it was a welcome distraction and comfort, better than remembering the holiday ended and everyone had to go back home.

adam eating a biscuit

Sometimes I don’t even care what I’m cooking; I just need the rhythms of mixing ingredients, cleaning the counters, loading the dishwasher yet again. As far as these biscuits—beyond the fact that I had a little over a cup of buttermilk in the fridge begging to be used, I made them because Jacqui inspired me, because I’ve always liked the ones at Red Lobster that they seem to be an homage to and because, quite frankly, baking biscuits is a much better way to spend a Saturday night than staring at the walls feeling sad. They are cheesy and soft, flecked with pepper and covered with natural ridges like rustic biscuits should be. I like them toasted in the oven and served alongside a nice, big salad—preferably a salad I have to take a few minutes to put together, feeling thankful for the chance to.





Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits
Adapted from Baked
Makes about 20 small (or around 12 to 15 large) biscuits

No kidding, these really are very much like the ones at Red Lobster, if you’re familiar with those, just a little milder and less salty.

Ingredients:
2 1/3 cups flour (I used a combination of white and whole-grain spelt)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar (I used Sucanat)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grated and tightly packed sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Kosher salt for topping

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pepper, garlic powder, Sucanat, baking powder, cream of tartar, and the 1 teaspoon of salt.

Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter or two forks or knives, work the butter into the dough. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Add the cheese and stir to thoroughly incorporate it into the dough.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Use a small ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop the dough and drop it in mounds onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. Jacqui

    Yummm, biscuits! I couldn’t believe how easy they are to make — I may never go back to the canned ones again. I love those rhythms of cooking. A quiet Saturday alone in my kitchen, chopping and stirring and tasting and cleaning, is all I need to feel whole again after a long week.

  2. Maria

    Oh, Red Lobster biscuits. I used to make a meal of those as a kid. And now I imagine all the strange preservatives and psuedo-dairy ingredients in them and the joy is killed. So, thank you! For a milder and less-salty alternative. :)

  3. Evan @swEEts

    Your description of all that baking is for you could not be explained any better… I feel the same exact way. It doesn’t matter how busy my day at work is, I love coming home and just getting in the kitchen. If these taste anything like the Red Lobster ones then they have to be absolutely fantastic!

  4. Shannalee

    Blissful, Sounds like a plan!

    Jacqui, I know! Anything that turns out well the first time is a big hit with me. : )

    Tim, : )

    Maria, We would get along well. I def made a meal of those biscuits—and not just when I was a kid. These bring it all back!

    Evan, It’s so nice to hear you get it!

    99ways, I’m tempted to delete your comment as your name seems spammy. However, your comment seems real, so you get to stay!

  5. Maddie

    I felt the same way recently about a batch of gnocchi as you did about your burlap ravioli—that a delicious end result would’ve been nice, but not necessary. The best part was really in the release of slicing, roasting, mashing, and rolling, which tends to make nagging, chronic worries dissolve in the calm physicality of the process.

  6. Megan Gordon

    Ahhh….perfect with soup. I finally visited Baked last weekend when I was in NYC and tried virtually everything but didn’t get around to the biscuits. Can’t wait to try yours (especially with the addition of spelt flour–very cool). Happy Friday!

  7. Vicki

    I love those biscuits at Red Lobster! Over the summer I tried Tastefully Simple’s cheddar biscuit mix that reminded me of the Red Lobster biscuits. And believe it or not but the new cheddar biscuits at Ruby Tuesday taste even better than the Red Lobster variety.

  8. Shannalee

    Anne, I woke up to a snow-covered world this morning, and I have to say soup and biscuits sounds wonderful.

    Maddie, Exactly!

    Megan, Oh, I’m so jealous! I’d love to go there!

    Sues, Ha! I hear you.

    Vicki, Then you would love these!

    Heather, You’re definitely among friends here!

    Alicia, Mmmm buttermilk pancakes!

    Susan, : ) I have days, or weeks, like that!

  9. Allison

    This is going to sound melodramatic, most likely, but until recently, there was one cookbook I made two recipes from….because the thought of cooking terrified me. I knew I could do it, but my mother’s a Home Ec. teacher, so the thought of messing up……well, let’s just say I didn’t cook much.
    Thank you sooo much for this site :) I’ve tried 2 recipes now with success, and I’m looking forward to the next one to try. You make cooking seem way less scary and, this isn’t intended to be mean, it may be because of how willing you are to talk about the unsuccessful tries.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

  10. Shannalee

    Ginger, Ha!

    Dana, Do it!

    Allison, I am so glad you feel that way! I honestly believe everyone has unsuccessful tries, as you put it, but there are some people who pretend they don’t. We’re all just learning together!

  11. retro sweets

    Hi I’m back dear. Cooked these and they’re wonderful. I enjoyed them but my son didn’t because he had fever for two days. Anyway, I saved some so that he can be the cookie monster again when he feels better. Gonna check your new post! :)

  12. Elise

    Made these with dinner tonight (roasted chicken, glazed carrots, green beans from my MIL) – success! They were delicious!! (Thank you for the recipe!) I think I like them even better once cooled – the tangy cheesy flavor is a little more prominent. Do you think fresh garlic would work okay, and if so, how much?

  13. Shannalee

    Elise, Your dinner sounds amazing! I think you could swap a higher amount of minced real garlic for similar results. I’d want to do three tablespoons, but then I can never have enough garlic. : )

  14. Nicole

    Hey Shanna, So I knew you had a blog from Jackie, but I was just searching for a way to perfect these biscuits from another site that was almost identical to yours however, you found the missing link….cream of tartar!! It made all the difference! Thank you…lol! Hope you are doing well, hope to see you guys when I’m home next :) I’ll have to start following your blog more cause I love cooking! Just wish I had more time…some day! :)

  15. Shannalee

    Nikki! 1. I can’t believe you found my blog by accident like that! What a small world! 2. I know what you mean about being short on time… but we have to eat, right? There’s always a little time for cooking. : )

    ps – already excited about your wedding later this year!

  16. Mahjira Hill

    The biscuits reminds me of the ones at Ruby Tuesday! Yum!!
    I would love to makes these for Thanksgiving this year – I am having to travel home for Thanksgiving and wonder if I can make the biscuit dough ahead of time, then take it with me on my four-hour trip and baking them at my Mom’s kitchen. Will the dough keep? Or does the dough have to be used right away?
    Thank you!

    1. Shannalee

      Hi Mahijira – While I haven’t done that with this recipe, I would guess the dough should be fine, if you keep it chilled in a cooler or something. It might slightly alter the results, but I’d go for it.

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