I'm not gonna lie. I love Red Lobster's cheddar garlic biscuits. It's been over 15 years since I've been in a Red Lobster and had a biscuit, but I remember vividly what they taste like. I even once wrote into the Recipe Finder at the Commercial Appeal asking for the recipe. And if you've ever read the (many, many available) recipes, you'll find the vast majority (including the one published in response to my query) start with Bisquick.
Uh, no. Not only am I now too snobby (and vegetarian) to go into a Red Lobster, I also do not keep Bisquick in my pantry. It's pointless. It's just a box containing ingredients you already have: flour, baking powder, salt and oil (or butter, as I prefer). And if you don't use it regularly, it will go bad. In particular, baking powder loses its potency over time (see this post for instructions on testing your powder) and you'll get flat, little pucks instead of fluffy biscuits.
So here's a recipe for those of us who don't have--and don't want--Bisquick in the pantry! I made these to take to a party and they were a pretty big hit (I made two-bite size biscuits). One of my friends referred to them as "sausage-less sausage balls," which I thought was pretty funny. I hope that no one was actually disappointed that they were sausage-less, though.
This recipe isn't too snobby, though. I did use garlic powder. Garlic purists even frown upon pre-minced garlic in a jar; I can only imagine their opinion of garlic powder. Anyway, these are easy to make and guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
yield: about three dozen mini biscuits or a dozen regular size drop biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided into 2 half-teaspoons
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces of chunk cheese = 8 ounces shredded)
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), divided into 3/4 stick and 1/4 stick, both melted
1 cup milk
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and one half-teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl. Stir in the shredded cheese with a fork. Stir in butter and milk just until moistened. Do not overstir.
Pinch off (or pick up with fork) desired-size amounts onto a baking sheet and cook at 450F for about 12-15 minutes (until lightly browned).
Stir in remaining half-teaspoon of garlic powder into quarter-stick of melted butter. When biscuits are done, remove from oven and brush garlic butter over the tops of biscuits.
Note: Do not overstir the batter after you've added the butter and milk! Overstirring will prevent the biscuits from rising properly, so they won't be nice and fluffy. And resist the tempation to roll them. The batter should almost be marshmallow-y fluffy. Just use a fork to scrape up the amount you want and drop it onto the baking sheet. Trust me; it was the second batch I made of these biscuits that actually made it to the party.
You can also substitute vegetable oil for the butter in the mix, but butter or a butter-flavored substitute is pretty key for the golden biscuit tops.