After hosting book club last week (Kielbasa Black Bean Chili and White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce!), making sugar cookies for my sorority alumnae group’s white elephant party, making appetizers for my gourmet club, and hosting my mom at my house for a week (including a Runza lesson), I’ve been doing an awful lot of cooking and not a lot of blogging. I’m sneaking this hour between starting a new batch of cookies for a party tomorrow and going to the store for a brunch I’m having on Sunday. Does anyone out there know if you can teach a cat (or a husband) to cook?
Anyway, I’m ready to talk bacon, cheese, and the gooey goodness that is Pioneer Woman. My friend Katie chose her recipes as the theme for gourmet club this month, so I did a bit of experimenting before the big day. My primary goal (as it almost always is) was to find ridiculously appetizing food that could be made ahead. Her Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits fit the bill. Here’s how I made them:
First, I fried up 10 slices of thick-cut bacon, drained it on paper towels, and chopped it into small pieces. (Crumble it if you want; I was in a chopping mood.) I drained off most of the bacon fat and then sautéed 1 cup of finely diced onion in the same skillet until browned (about 5 – 7 minutes over medium heat). I transferred the onions to a plate to cool.
With the cooked ingredients ready to go, I sifted together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon of table salt. Using a pastry cutter, I cut in 1/4 cup of Crisco until everything was combined. (The mixture should look a bit like coarse meal.)
In a large bowl, I whisked together 10 tablespoons of whole milk, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 1 egg. I added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, along with the bacon, onions, and 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese. (PW is normally about fresh-grated cheese, but she says the cornstarch coating in packaged grated cheese can help suspend the cheese in this batter. I used packaged cheese.) I stirred the mixture gently to combine.
The original recipe calls for full-size muffins, but I thought mini muffins were more appropriate as appetizers. I greased my 24-cup mini muffin pan with butter and then used my cookie scoop to portion out the dough. (With slightly heaping scoops, there was about a muffin’s worth of dough left over.) I baked the muffins for 20 minutes at 375F and cooled them in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Since mine wouldn’t be served until later in the day, I cooled them completely and transferred them to an airtight container. If you’re ready to eat, though, serve them warm!
This is just another one of those recipes where it’s practically impossible for the results to be bad because only delicious things went into the batter. (Cheese? Bacon? Sautéed onions? Heaven.) Initially, I was actually pretty worried that these wouldn’t work as a make-ahead appetizer because PW made them sound through-the-roof delicious when they’re warm. I enjoyed them warm (of course!), but I almost felt like I could taste the bacon and cheese better when they were room temperature. Texturally, they were slightly crusty on the outside and fantastically moist on the inside. Mmmm.
Although I think it worked really well to make them ahead, they’re definitely best the day they’re made. After spending the night in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they lose that yummy crispness on the outside. If you want to make them ahead AND serve them warm, I’d recommend wrapping them in foil and heating them in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes at 300F when you’re ready to eat.
TIPS: If you try this recipe, I would strongly recommend reviewing Pioneer Woman’s step-by-step instructions before you attempt the printable recipe. I’m sure it was an accidental omission, but the printable recipe doesn’t say a word about sautéing the onions. Somehow, I don’t think raw onion in the batter would taste quite as good. 😉
Recipe link: Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits