What is it about a recipe title that screams, “MAKE ME”? In a list of choices like Rainbow Chard and Comte Quiche, Cheese Quesadilla with Squash Blossoms and Poblanos, and Butter Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Sovrano, what did I lunge for? Popeye’s Wannabe Biscuits. Did I go for the highbrow-sounding seasonal delicacies? No, I went for what I anticipated to be the fatty carbohydrate that would be just this side of “The White Trash Cookbook” (which, I am not ashamed to say, I own although as more of a novelty item than as a cookbook from which I cook on a regular—or really even an infrequent—basis, but if I am ever invited to a potluck the theme of which is “My Grandfather Was a Shifflett*, How About Yours?” I am all set).
As I waited for the page to render, I was filled with a degree of hesitation, and was preparing myself to be disappointed. Was I in the process of opening a recipe for spinach muffins? Just which Popeye was referenced here? The sailor with the weirdly misshapen arms (seriously, what was up with that guy’s elbows? Even as a kid, and even understanding that it was a cartoon, I thought those little gumdrop-shaped growths between his forearms and his biceps were freakish and unsettling as, for that matter, were his forearms and biceps) or the home of the world’s second most awesome biscuits—Chick-fil-A will always be #1—and the fried chicken that caused an ex-boyfriend of mine to lie puking in a gutter (to be fair, not the fault of the chicken, but the fault of the eight-24oz Hurricanes he drank prior to consuming the skin off of roughly a dozen pieces of said chicken at a Mardi Gras parade approximately twenty years ago) and from which gutter I (a foot shorter and eighty pounds lighter than he) was forced by the New Orleans Police Department to drag him prior to the start of the parade? Which Popeye was in question here??
To my joy, it was the latter (although of course it did bring to mind the ex-boyfriend reference, which I then inflicted on you and my apologies if you were snacking or anything when you read the preceding paragraph). And to my further joy, it appeared to be the simplest of recipes. Four ingredients, two of them shamelessly low rent, and what appeared to be a 30 minute process. Fast and cheap—what more could I ask?
Clearly, I could ask that they be awesome. And so, to verify their awesomeness, I was forced to make them immediately. The plan that formed was that I would make them that very night. Alex was leaving town for a golf trip (I should say, another golf trip), but he was on a red eye, so I knew I’d have a little time between my arrival home and our departure for the ferry and the airport. Since it appeared to be such a speedy recipe (even the source labeled it as “Features: Fast”), I decided to go for it. We don’t keep non-diet soda of any kind in the house, and neither of us drinks Sprite anyway, so a grocery stop would be in order.
I almost got derailed when I arrived home and started searching for my muffin tins. "Where are they?" I asked. My husband directed me to the dining room, where 18 individual muffin tins were filled with approximately 43 million microscopic Legos. My oldest son had been permitted to purchase a Star Wars Imperial Death Cruiser Battle Station Fighter Kill Maim Destroy Something Or Other this past weekend. In an effort to speed the construction process, my husband had divided all the parts into their individual "steps." I heaved a sigh and put all of the pieces into their own Ziplock bags, whereupon I was chastised for not numbering them. Whatever.
When I was finally able to get all the muffins in the oven, the smell that emanated was heavenly. They looked amazing too. When I broke one apart, it was tender and light. Much more muffin than biscuit, although with a lovely crunchy biscuity top. I'd be tempted to make these as a drop biscuit on a pan, just to see how that experiment worked. I was informed that they smelled more buttery than they tasted, although the flavor was outstanding. I confess I basted 15 muffins with only two tablespoons of butter (only!), so I think being a bit more lavish and unrestrained with the butter might improve them (go ahead, melt the rest of that stick and baste the bejesus out of them).
I could go all Rachel Ray on you and insist that these be called buffins, or misquits, or muffits or bisquins, but I shall not because I would not be able to live with myself if I did (but it’s out there, isn’t it? Yes it is). Call them what you will, but they are indeed well worth the grand total of 30 minutes that they take to make.
from the Washington Post Food Section, June 17, 2009
4 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup chilled Sprite
1 cup chilled sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional for gilding the lily (brushing the tops)
Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the extra butter for brushing. Mix until just combined. Batter will be sticky.
Grease 15 standard size muffin cups. Fill each cup to the top, and brush tops of batter with melted butter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tops rise and are starting to brown.
Transfer muffins to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving. Muffins can be stored in a tin at room temperature for up to 2 days. To freeze, wrap each muffin in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 1 month.
Nutritional Information: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Actually they’re not that bad—200 calories and 13g of fat (although of course they have no fiber at all) per muffin. Or buffin. Or misquit. Or muffit. Or bisquin. See what I did? I did it again, didn’t I? Yes I did.
*Just as an aside, out of sheer curiosity and because this is how my somewhat twisted mind works, I Googled the name Shifflett and found a website that was offering to sell me a Shifflett coat of arms for the bargain price of $18.93. On closer inspection, the primary feature of the Shifflett coat of arms is the profile of what appears to be a crow with what appears to be a saltine cracker in its mouth. I think that’s astonishingly fitting.