Saturday, December 15, 2012

Savorfull December - Gluten-Free Savory Cheesy Biscuits

Along with coupons and exclusive allergy-friendly offers, December's Savorfull box contained

Everything in the December Savorfull box is free from the Top 8 Allergens! (Peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, gluten, wheat, shellfish, and soy.)

Savorfull is a monthly subscription service that sends you a carefully selected assortment of trial-sized and full-sized allergy-friendly food items (usually peanut-free and/or dairy-free and also gluten/wheat-free.)
While we don't have any food allergies to worry about, the nut-free items would be safe to take to her nut-free preschool for her personal snack. Or the boxes often include "ingredients" (flour, baking mixes, etc) I could use to whip up a safe class snack. [And by "whip up" I mean "flub in some way."
Everything they choose is artificial-free too, which is what sold me on trying them out!
The Savorfull box is only $15 per month, with no added shipping charge! That's a fantastic deal, since most sampler boxes I've tried are either smaller, more expensive, or tack on a monthly shipping charge as well!
Are you interested in trying them out too?
Use code BITINGMYHAND for $1 off 1 month, $9 off 6 months, or $20 off a 1-year subscription!

For once Z didn't just omnomnom the Enjoy Life cookies the second I got them out of the box. So I saved them for a special treat. Maybe *I* will actually get to try a bite this time!
We're big fans of SunButter, so I always have a jar on-hand. I'll either share this sample with someone else, or maybe include it in a lunch or snack with some apples or crackers if I don't feel like getting a muffin cup or sauce container dirty.
Sandwich, GoGo Squeeze, seaweed, cheese nibblets
The GoGo Squeeze pouch went into a lunch one morning when I had fallen asleep with Baby the night before and had to pack her lunch in a hurry. Normally I hate including disposable items, but it was a change from the grapes I had been packing every day, and I didn't have time to peel an orange or slice and treat apples. (I slosh them in apple juice or water mixed with Fruit Fresh to prevent them from browning.)

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Gluten-Free Savory Cheesy Biscuits
With the Mrs. Glee's navy bean flour, I thought a savory baked good would probably taste better than a sweeter one. I love Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits (it's the main reason I even go there!) so I thought I might try to make something like that. I had to kind of merge two recipes though, in order to make what I had envisioned.

At first I just followed the gluten-free biscuit recipe, making a half-batch, since I didn't want to commit to too much if they turned out bad. Plus the Red Lobster biscuit copycat recipe was about half the amounts anyway. (Although THIS ONE looks way better. But I didn't find it until after. Much more flavorful-looking.)
I decided to use my Kelapo Coconut Oil sample in the biscuit dough, since it was there. I also had another sample from somewhere else, so I was able to measure out half of it to use it for all the oil in the recipe. Don't laugh, but since they were in little packets, I warmed them to melting point by sticking them in my pants while I measured and mixed all the dry ingredients. Teehee.

2 cups gluten-free flour or flour blend
3 1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (sharp is probably better)
1 1/2 Tbsp oil or butter,  melted
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk (to make your own, for each cup of buttermilk add 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to 7 1/2 ounces milk or milk substitute I just put the lemon juice in a measuring cup first, then added the milk up to the cup line. I recommend making 2 cups so you have enough ready in advance. So 1/8 cup (1 ounce) lemon juice or vinegar, then enough milk to reach 2 cups.)

On Top:
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt (if you use pickling salt or salt from a grinder, which is much finer, you can add a little less.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Step 1: Add all dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well.

Step 2: Combine 1 cup of milk mixture (or buttermilk) with the oil.

Step 3: Slowly add milk and oil mixture to the dry ingredients until the dough is flaky and crumbly. Add more milk mixture as needed.

Step 4: Spoon onto parchment-paper-lined baking tray. Space at least one inch apart.
You then have two ways to proceed. Either combine all "On Top" ingredients and brush them onto uncooked biscuits before baking, which is what I did, or do it the way the better copycat recipe suggests, which I've included here.

Step 5: Bake at 425 F for 14-18 minutes until lightly browned. Near the end, combine all the "On Top" ingredients. You want the butter (or coconut oil) to still be liquid.
Step 6: Use a brush to spread butter mixture on the tops of the biscuits. Use it all up.

If you're using a solid-at-room-temp oil like butter or coconut oil, warm the milk mixture/buttermilk first. Heh heh. My tummy-warmed oil solidified on contact when I added it to the cold milk. I had to microwave it all in 30-second increments and stir to blend until it was warm enough to melt the oil off my spoon.

Feel free to taste the dough as you go, since there's no pesky raw eggs to worry about, and add more seasoning if you feel it's needed. I hear gluten-free flour often needs more spices/sweetener/seasonings to compensate.

How I Messed Them Up:
At first I followed the crappy copycat recipe, and didn't account for the fact that gluten-free baking needs the spices and salt kicked up a notch. Plus I had been stingy with the butter and seasonings on the tops.

I totally forgot to add the cheese to the dry ingredients first, so tried to mix it into the dough. So extra mixing may have led to consistency problems.

Also, I was too lazy to grate didn't think I'd have enough cheddar, so I just used a pre-shredded cheese mix with cheddar, Monterey Jack and something else. So the cheese flavor wasn't really strong enough to notice.

I had roughly half the dough left while the first batch baked, and once they came out and I tried them (tasteless flour hockey pucks) I added more cheese and garlic powder and salt to the last half of the dough, and added some Italian seasoning. And brushed extra butter on the tops and sprinkled on more garlic powder and salt.
But this meant that my dough was even more over-mixed. I know with wheat flour this is a major problem. And I'm notorious for ruining baked goods by over-mixing to get the lumps out. Not sure about GF flours though. But my biscuits were a little... chewy.

I only used 1 1/3 cup milk mixture, so I may not have added enough. The dough wasn't very sticky.

To get the dough to stick together, I had to mash the dough bits together and then press them down flattish, which may have made them denser. Probably more milk would have made the dough stickier, but it's not like I know what I'm doing. Not only am I an inept baker, I have no clue how gluten-free baking is different or how to compensate for it. I'm cooking by the seat of my pants here!

The second batch with the extra spices and salt and cheese tasted muuuuuuuch better. So I adjusted the recipe above to account for that.

I may have overcooked the second batch a tad. The first round never browned, and they cooked for 18 minutes. So I set the timer for 16 minutes for the second batch and they were nice and toasted. But the bottoms were very brown and crunchy.

The Verdict: 
Overall I was surprised how moist and fluffy the insides were, considering the debacles that most of my baking attempts are. The outsides were hard shells though, once they started cooling. Will try re-heating in the microwave with a flick of water on top.
Hubby says the first ones were pretty "grainy" textured. But he said the second batch felt smoother (although still a bit grainy and dense.) He thought about putting jam on the first half, but said the savory top might be just enough to make them taste weird. He enjoyed the second batch and ate as many as allowed (I asked him to save some for me to photograph the next day in better light.)
I sliced one from the first batch in half and globbed butter on both halves for Little Z, and she said "This tastes like nothing." Then asked me to put cinnamon on them. Which I did, and she gobbled it down. Since cinnamon has to fat, sugars, sodium, or anything else bad, plus actually has great health benefits, she is allowed as much cinnamon on her foods as she likes.
Baby E ate everything I tossed on the floor for her handed her, so she didn't hate them.

If you're a gluten-free household with a lot of the standard GF ingredients, you can also Google "gluten free red lobster biscuits copycat recipe" for a variety of different GF recipes that might taste closer to the original, but the ones I found had weird ingredients I didn't have, or called for specific brands.


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