Kitchen Experiment #13 – Ham & Cheese Biscuits

As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been exploring George Stella’s cookbooks and had played around with his ham and cheddar morning muffins – except that I used SPAM instead of ham because of a poor cellphone connection (should have used Sprint).

Anyway, I had enjoyed that experiment, so I thought I’d come up with my own variant. I had some store-cooked deli ham that needed to be used up, so I decided to make the muffins (or biscuits – what is the difference between the two anyway?) with the much maligned american cheese instead of cheddar.

Here’s the ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups soy flour
  • 3/4 lbs sliced deli ham
  • 7 slices american cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

I first set my convection over to 375. I then chopped up the ham and cheese. I wanted the ham ‘chunkier’ this time so I sliced the pieces approx. 1/2″ square. I did the same for the cheese.

I mixed the other ingredients in a bowl, then threw in the ham and mixed. OK so far. The problem was the american cheese – the slices stuck together, and I didn’t want huge blobs of the stuff, so I peeled the little squares apart and threw in a layer, mixed, and repeated this until they were all in the batter.

Now to the muffin tin. I had a problem with the muffins sticking the last time – George Stella recommended using the flour to coat the sides of the tin, but because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, it took a long time and didn’t work. Genius I am, I decided that just spraying the hell out of the muffin tin with cooking spray would do the trick, so I filled the kitchen with atomized oil and had one throughly greasy muffin tin as my reward.

Next, I used an ice cream scoop to fill the tins – my thought was that if the batter just drops in rather than getting smeared in, it wouldn’t disturb the oil coating and stick less. I prided myself on my foresight and powers of reasoning.

Lastly, I had the idea that some low carb ketchup would go well with these – so why not bake some on top? It would dry a bit and be a built in condiment. Sounded like a good idea, but I decided to experiment only on a few of them. I made a well in the center of the top of 4 of them and added a squirt of ketchup to each.

Batter in place, it went into the oven for 25 minutes.

After 15 minutes, they looked done, which seemed awful fast. I poked one with a toothpick, but because I put so much darn cheese in the things, it came out gooey – from the batter not fully cooked or from the cheese? I couldn’t tell.

I let them sit a bit longer – to 20 minutes.

Took them out of the oven and let them cool for a bit. Then I tried to remove one.

It was as if they were glued them in place – the cooking spray didn’t work.

I tried turning over the muffin tin and giving it a bang over a dish towl, hoping the percussion would shake the muffins loose. The muffins stayed put, but the globs of ketchup, not fully dessicated, obediently came free and splashed globs of ketchup on the dishtowel and the counter. Note to self: next time I try this, I’m using those little paper cupcake cups. I used a butter knife to loosen the edges -to hell if I scratch the non-stick finish – it wasn’t helping anyway, and was able to get the majority of the muffins out intact.

After all this, I gave them a taste. My verdict: not bad. I had them with ketchup and without, hot and cold – they’re good. I froze a few so I can have a grab-and-run snack when I need it.

Next time I’ll probably try less Splenda – I had already cut back from George Stella’s recommendation of 1/3 cup, but it was still just a tad too sweet. I also like the ketchup idea and will probably try it again with a thinner layer of the stuff rather than a blob.

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3 thoughts on “Kitchen Experiment #13 – Ham & Cheese Biscuits

  1. LCC, I have to admit you have the patience of a saint when it comes to perfecting a recipe concept; I’d have given up after the first bad experience. I’ll bet, though, you’ve saved a few people from making the same kind of kitchen “errors” by being so brutally honest about things that make you go “DANG.” My problem is always “how hot and how long,” and my wife usually answers, “350 and just watch it, you’ll be able to tell when it’s done.” Riiiiiiiiight.

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