Better Than Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits

When a title has “Better Than” in it, it is setting the bar high for itself.  But let me tell you, this lives up to the hype. I made a crab boil one day and thought, what would go along with this but be easy to make?  Then I found this gem and my life is forever changed.  All the ingredients you will definitely have on hand, and it is so simple to make.

Recipe adapted from Food.com: http://www.food.com/recipe/better-than-red-lobster-cheddar-bay-biscuits-260536?oc=linkback

My Version of Better Than Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Yields: 6 – 8 biscuits

Ingredients:

-2 cups flour

-3 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

-2 tbsp vegetable shortening

-2/3 cup 2% low-fat milk

-3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

-1/4 cup butter, melted

-1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

-2 teaspoons parsley flakes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, Old Bay, and salt in a bowl.

3. Cut in shortening.

4.  Stir in milk and cheese until soft dough forms.

5. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

7.  Meanwhile, add garlic powder and parsley to the melted butter. And a pinch of Old Bay if you’d like 🙂

8. As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, brush generously with the melted butter.

Biscuits

Homemade biscuits

Our "semi-homemade" boil

Our “semi-homemade” boil

Our ode to Maryland dinner 🙂

Ganache

Ganache seemed really complicated to me, until I found out the ingredients were chocolate and heavy cream.  Simple enough.  Suspiciously simple.

When I tell you I spent hours researching ganache, I am not lying.  I eagerly searched recipes, watched videos, learned about the types of ganache (whipped, glaze, dipping, piped), it’s origins – basically I did more work looking into ganache than I did for most of my research papers.

While I make a lot of these fun recipes, I honestly make them once a month, and only eat one to try it to make sure it is edible before I pass it off to others.  I definitely love to eat sweets, but know moderation is key.  With that in mind, I began to look up alternatives to using heavy cream in a ganache without taking away from it’s deliciousness.  Alternatives I’ve found contain milk + butter, sour cream, and some others I can’t think of at the moment.

This recipe below is adapted from the knowledge gathered in the links at the end of this post.

Ganache

Yields: ~24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup sour cream

-1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

-Combine sour cream and chocolate chips in a bowl on a double boiler.

-Heat and stir until smooth.

-Optional step: after well-blended and smooth, you can add a 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or any flavor you desire.

-Let cool for about 10 minutes to thicken to use as a glaze.

Before the melting and stirring

Before the melting and stirring

As described in the big BAKE theory‘s blog, the sour cream alternative is more for a glaze versus being able to whip it.  I like the tangy-ness of the sour cream, and it is half the calories versus using heavy cream.  I will play around with the milk+butter alternative and report back!

These links below are pages I came across during my research process that I found useful:

JoyofBaking.com – http://www.joyofbaking.com/ganache.html

Cakes and More! – http://sumarowjee.blogspot.com/2010/10/low-fat-ganache-cheat-to-indulge.html

the big BAKE theory – http://bigbaketheory.com/2012/02/24/ganache-101/

SAVORY SWEET LIFE – http://savorysweetlife.com/2009/08/simply-glorious-chocolate-ganache-recipe-3-ways/

Cooking with Sugar TV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reem1MnMduU

Thanksgiving Slutty Brownie

She’ssss backkkk and ready for the holidays!

This concoction was my own creation (as far as I know), the fall sister to The Slutty Brownie. I was walking through Walmart and saw the display for all the pumpkin flavored mixes for the holiday and was hit with a stroke of genius!

Beginnings of a Holiday SB

Beginnings of a Holiday SB

There are no pictures of the final product. I’m sorry and also very sad I don’t have any. These definitely needed to be a trial and error type thing, but I made them thinking they’d be as easy as her sister the morning of my husband’s potluck at work – they were not.

The cookie bottom needed more time than I anticipated – I’m thinking it took over 30 minutes to bake, honestly. It may have been because I was in a rush and kept opening the door every ten minutes, but I think the consistency of all the ingredients were different that of the original.

Thanksgiving Slutty Brownie
Yields: 24 squares

Ingredients:
-Box of spice cake mix (I used  Duncan Hines® Signature Spice Cake)
-2 Eggs
-1/4 Cup Water
-3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
-Bag of pumpkin cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker® Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix) and the ingredients on the back to make it
-Bag of vanilla Oreos (I used Wal-Mart brand)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line pan with foil or paper. If you don’t have either, no worries! Spray that sucker with a non-stick spray and roll with it.

2. Mix the Pumpkin Spice mix according to the directions on the bag. You will want the mix to be a little gooey-er like with the first time, but not too wet.  Spread along the bottom of the pan.

3. Now you layer the Oreos on top of the cookie layer.

4. To get the cake mix to a brownie consistency, you will use the aforementioned ingredients listed under the mix above. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil and water in large bowl. Stir until well blended (about 50 strokes)  and do not over mix.  Pour over the cookies in the pan and spread evenly.

5. Pop it into the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. This is the tricky part again because you don’t want to over bake the top and under-bake the bottom and make it too dry.  I would suggest following the bake time on the back of the spice cake mix box and checking periodically how it is looking on the top (without opening the oven door often).  I used a glass baking dish so it allowed me to see how cooked the bottom layer was looking.

6. After you take them out, let them cool for a few minutes before cutting.

I have the above ingredients on hand right now, so maybe I will take another shot at it and post the results.  I think maybe I’ll try cooking the cookie bottom a few minutes before layering the Oreos and brownie batter.  And I really wanted to try it with those mythical Gingerbread Oreos I keep hearing about but have never actually seen.  Maybe that can wait for the third sister – Winter Slutty Brownie (because Christmas and Slutty didn’t feel right in the same sentence).

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I changed departments around September of last year and decided it was time to treat my new team members to cupcakes. So, during training, I figured I might as well test a new cupcake recipe on them before I actually made them for Thanksgiving (aren’t I nice?). Lucky for me, they were a hit!

I also LOVE the fall because everything everywhere bibbidi boppity boos into pumpkin – lattes, cream cheese, donuts… is it fall yet 😦

 

This recipe was adapted from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-ginger-cupcakes/).

There is a video All Recipes uploaded walking through the steps, if you need a visual guide.

 

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields: 24 cupcakes

 

Ingredients

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix

-2 teaspoons baking soda

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

-1 cup butter, room temperature

-1 cup white sugar

-1 cup packed brown sugar

-4 eggs

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

-1 batch cream cheese frosting

 

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.

2. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Fill about 1/3 way full or use an ice cream scoop (which is the same thing as a cupcake batter scoop).

3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.  Top with cream cheese icing.

 

Sprinkled with Pumpkin Spice

Sprinkled with Pumpkin Spice

 

The original recipe called for 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger to be added to the batter, but I did not use any because I didn’t have any and couldn’t find any.  From the comments on the recipes page, it adds an extra zing to the cupcakes, so I will be keeping an eye out for next time!

Cream Cheese Frosting

Something that I didn’t mention earlier that might be important to know when when it comes to my frosting recipes I’ll list is that I don’t do buttercream. bleh. I prefer cream cheese and whipped frosting over buttercream, and I typically wipe frosting off my cake/cupcakes if they are buttercream.  Crazy, I know.  This cream cheese frosting is just a tad sweet (to my liking) but you can definitely sift in more confectioners’ sugar if you need the rush.

 

This recipe was adapted from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cream-cheese-frosting-ii/).

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields: ~3 cups

 

Ingredients:

-2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

-1/2 cup butter, softened

-2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.

2. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.

3. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Buffalo Chicken “Cupcakes”

A friend from work invited me to her intimate wedding (a beautiful backyard wedding with close friends and family) and in lieu of gifts, she asked for guests to bring a dish to share. I thought that was such a cute idea and made everything even more personal.

Since we were told no desserts, I started to think about what yummy, savory side dish I could bring.  While wasting time on Pinterest, I found this little gem.  The recipe calls for homemade dough, but I wasn’t about that life at that time, and decided to try Pillsbury Grands Biscuits as an alternative. I bought 6 cases I think because they had 5 biscuits each in them (they were the mini-tubes like these). I mushed them all together and rolled them flat as the recipe calls for. In retrospect, it may have just been easier to flatten each biscuit and tuck it into the cupcake mold with the sides up the side and fill with the chicken mixture and let it bake up around it. Practice makes perfect, right?

483535_10101443362027778_1067640073_n

Final product without “frosting”

This recipe was adapted from doughmesstic (http://doughmesstic.com/2012/05/01/buffalo-chicken-cupcakes/).  Please visit their site for the dough recipe.

My Version of Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

Yields: 24-30 cupcakes

Ingredients:

-Enough cases of premade biscuits to have 30 individual biscuits

-1 onion chopped

-1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces

-2 tablespoons butter

-1/2 cup favorite Buffalo Sauce (I used  Frank’s® RedHot® Hot Wing Sauce)

-2 cups fresh mozzarella

Directions:

1. Sauté chopped onions in butter over medium heat. Once transparent, add chopped chicken. When chicken is done, add Buffalo Sauce and heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin/cupcake pan with non-stick spray.

3a. If using biscuits, version 1: Open case but do not peel them apart.  Use a floured dusted rolling pin and roll it together into one mass of dough.  This is the route I went but it took some time.  I rolled together three cases, having two separate rolled out squares.  Spread chicken and cheese evenly across the rolled out dough. Starting from long side of dough, begin rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch ends when done. Slice into 1 1/2 to 2 inch rolls. Place on the baking sheet or in muffin tins.

3b. If using biscuits, version 2: Break biscuits into individual pieces.  Gently flatten/stretch each biscuit out, either with your hands or a rolling-pin.  Tuck each biscuit into a section of the muffin/cupcake pan, gently making sure the sides come up so that it looks like a little bowl.  Scoop  chicken mixture into each bowl, making sure to not overfill/cover dough. DISCLAIMER: I have not yet tried this way, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.  I plan on trying this method soon and will let you know how it turns out.

3c. If using pizza dough recipe from doughmesstic: Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a large rectangle roughly 1/4 inch in thickness.  Spread chicken and cheese evenly across each piece of rolled out dough. Starting from long side of dough, begin rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch ends when done. Slice into 1 1/2 to 2 inch rolls. Place on the baking sheet or in muffin tins.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and dough is lightly browned. Serve and enjoy!

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Top it off with ranch or blue cheese “frosting” and you’re all set 🙂