Fall is upon us! As we’ve said before, it is absolutely our favorite quarter of the year. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and apples are ripe for the harvesting. Zelda recently took a trip out of the city to pick some of said apples, and so we decided it was only appropriate for this month’s “Eat This, Drink That” to cook with the fruit of the season.
We set out looking for something both quintessentially Southern and acceptably apple-y. We settled upon this Apple, Sage, and Cheddar Biscuit recipe from Brian at A Thought for Food. Biscuits, a Southern staple, combined with our fresh apples, plus cheese (always a good idea) and some sage to make it classy? We had ourselves a winner.
The recipe is pretty simple. Combine 2 cups of flour, ¼ cup of sugar, 1¼ tsp of baking powder, ¼ tsp of baking soda, ½ tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk together to combine, then add ½ cup of butter, cut into small chunks and chilled (this last piece is VERY IMPORTANT — as Scout learned, the chill factor of the butter is the key to making your biscuits the fluffiest they can be). Use a pastry cutter, fork, or food processor to blend the butter into the flour; pea-sized chunks are ok, but nothing bigger. Once the butter has been successfully integrated with the dry ingredients, slowly add ½ cup of heavy cream, stirring to combine. Gently fold in 1 tablespoon of chopped sage and two peeled and cut apples (approximately one inch cubes).
Move the dough to a lightly floured surface (we used a baking mat, but any old (clean) counter will do), knead a few times. Then, flatten your dough out into a circle, about 9 inches wide and 1 ½ inches thick. Cut out your biscuits, about 2 ¾ inches in diameter (the top of a pint glass does the trick nicely if you don’t have a bona fide biscuit cutter on hand), lay your circles out on a parchment paper-covered pan, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown.
All in all, everything went pretty swimmingly, until the last step. Our dough was slightly stickier than we anticipated. We aren’t sure if this was because Scout may have over-kneaded the dough when combining the apples and sage, or possibly because we didn’t use the Gala apples the recipe called for, but instead the Empires we had on hand (fresh from the orchard!), which may have been slightly juicier than prescribed. Regardless, the excess stickiness forced us to use a heavily floured surface and get our hands slightly messier than expected.
With our dough on the sticky side, and a bit overworked, we were slightly worried about the consistency of the biscuits. But while they didn’t rise as much as we would have liked, looks aren’t everything, and they tasted fantastic — sweet and savory at the same time, and only slightly addictive.
On the cocktail side, Zelda also went appletastic. In a real departure from form for us, we made…another bourbon cocktail. What can we say: We’re all about that Kentucky brown. This month’s project? Self-Proclaimed Foodie’s Apple Ginger Bourbon Delight.
The best thing about this cocktail is that it is both insanely easy and insanely delicious. It requires only three ingredients: apple cider, ginger beer, and, of course, bourbon. The assembly is simple as well. Fill a glass with ice. Add 2 oz cider and 2 oz bourbon, and stir to combine. Top with 2 oz ginger beer and enjoy! Bonus points if you use a fancy striped straw, like the Pinterest goddess you are.
The result was delicious (and potent) — eye-crossing good. It tasted of fall and hay rides, although we both agreed it could have done with a cinnamon stick garnish to really take it to the next level. With a healthy amount of cider and three ginger beers still left in her fridge, Zelda will definitely be whipping these up again.