Nothing symbolizes Southern hospitality like a pan of hot, tender biscuits. Callie’s Charleston Biscuits recently announced that the South Carolina company’s cheese biscuits were selected as a Gold Sofi© Award Winner in the outstanding baked goods category of the NASFT (National Association of Specialty Foods) 36th Annual Sofi© Awards on Monday, June 30th. This award recognizes outstanding food and beverage products in 32 categories of specialty food. Winners were selected from approximately 2,100 entries by a national panel of 400 specialty food industry experts. A Sofi© Gold Statue is considered an important industry honor. Owner Carrie Morey, who accepted the award from renowned chef Jacques Pepin at the ceremony during the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City says, “This is an amazing opportunity for our small business. We are already receiving calls from retailers and buyers who are interested in the biscuits. It has been a phenomenal year with our biscuits on the Food Network show ‘Unwrapped,’ The NBC Today Show, and now this!” What’s next for the company? Carrie says she hopes that Oprah will come calling. She would love for their Southern biscuits to make Oprah Winfrey’s annual list of ‘favorite things.’ Last year Mario Batalli discovered the bakery and ordered a few dozen for his family for Christmas. He reported back that everyone loved them! Read on to learn more about the two amazing women who own Callie’s Charleston Biscuits and for some of their hot tips on making authentic Southern biscuits. Carrie Bailey-Morie co-owns the biscuit company with her mom, Callie White, who has been a popular Charleston caterer for years (she catered Reese Witherspoon’s and Ryan Phillippe’s wedding reception). While Callie bakes, daughter Carrie takes care of the business end while raising three adorable little biscuit-munchers! Active in their community, Carrie and Callie are members of the Charleston Chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, a unique worldwide society of women leaders in the food, beverage, and hospitality fields whose mission is education, advocacy and philanthropy. Callie began making biscuits through her Charleston catering company. Clients were clamoring for biscuits to take home, so in 2005, she and Carrie started the business. They were inspired by the efforts of other local food entrepreneurs; even those on the Food Channel.
The company produces the now-famous “golden” cheese biscuits with chives, tender, flaky buttermilk biscuits, fragrant cinnamon biscuits and savory country ham biscuits spread with Dijon mustard butter and stuffed with ‘chipped’ country ham. Trust me on this, these extraordinary biscuits are devine! I’ve tasted them many times and promise that you will be clamoring for them too!
The petite biscuits are perfect for breakfast or brunch and delightful for lunch or dinner. They make a nice accompaniment to soups and salads or a tasty ‘pick-up’ at cocktail parties. Callie’s Charleston Biscuits are two-bite wonders, not big-biscuit size like those found at fast food restaurants. Not wonder its possible to eat so many! When you order the biscuits, they arrive at your door fully cooked and frozen. Pop them in the freezer for later or into the oven to heat and eat immediately. Orders are shipped on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits are sold in fine food shops throughout the country. To see what all the fuss is about, all you have to do it pick up the phone and place an order. Contact Carrie Morey at 843-577-1198 or via email at email@example.com. Bakery (843) 577-1198 Mailing: 498 A Meeting Street Charleston, SC 29403.
Homemade biscuits are a popular Southern quickbread (made without yeast) that are best eaten directly out of the oven with butter, jam, honey or molasses. Biscuits with gravy are a Southern staple. Callie and Carrie are generous about sharing their biscuit-making secrets. But even with a step-by-step formula, you might not get the exact same results. There is an essential ingredient that can’t be put into words. You might call it, ‘the special touch!’ It involves working the dough to just the right consistency and knowing how much – or how little – to handle it. The ‘special touch’ is something you might learn from your grandmother or from another great teacher. The best way to perfect your technique is through practice – making countless numbers of biscuits like Callie does. . I’ve know a few great biscuit-makers in my time: Callie and Carrie, the legendary Southern cooking maven and cookbook author, Nathalie Dupree, Atlanta scientist and author Shirley Corriher (who was Nathalie’s student) and my husband’s Tennessee grandmother, to name a few. Granny Holt would rise at 5:30 AM sharp to make sure hot biscuits were served at the breakfast table each day . Here are some biscuit-making tips from the experts. At the bottom, there is a bonus recipe from Callie for using up all those ripe tomatoes from your summer garden. . ~Tips For Making Southern Biscuits Like the Pros ~ .
- Use the freshest, finest ingredients available.
- White Lily flour is a soft winter wheat flour preferred by most Southern biscuit bakers. Callie’s Charleston Biscuits uses it exclusively. Shirley Corriher says White Lily flour is chlorinated and helps the fat cling to the flour, becoming better distributed through the dough
- Too much baking powder creates a bitter taste. Callie’s Charleston Biscuits uses self-rising flour.
- If you can’t find White Lily flour, heaven forbid, use Corriher’s trick of mixing 1 -1/2 cups of self-rising flour and 1/2 cup of cake or pastry flour plus 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for a two-cup batch.
- Some bakers swear by lard; others like the taste of butter or solid shortening. Callie’s Charleston Biscuits uses butter and a small amount of cream cheese to make their biscuits tasty and moist. Whichever shortening you use, make sure it is cold.
- All expert biscuit bakers prefer a very moist, messy dough.
- Callie says, “Don’t overwork the biscuit dough. No electric mixers, just your hands. You need a gentle but sure touch. Try to roll out the dough only once and use a well-floured cutter. “
- Nathalie adds, ” but too little kneading will not give you as nice a rise. Too much shortening makes a crumbly dough, too little robs it of its tenderness.”
- Place the biscuits close together on the pan so they will rise up, not spread out over the pan. Bake them in a hot oven.
- Nathalie sums it all up, “It’s like learning to hit a golf ball or a tennis ball; chances are you aren’t going to be happy until you practice a bit, and study the basics.”
- Whichever recipe you use, these tips will be helpful. Practice, practice practice to develop your own special touch!
Callies’s Smoked Tomato Puree
12 medium sized tomatoes, halved
12 garlic cloves (with skins intact)
Place the tomatoes cut-side down with the jalapenos and garlic in a roasting pan that will fit half of your grill space. A stovetop smoker is ideal, but if you don’t have one, you can build a very hot fire on one side of your grill, and when it is ready, add mesquite or other hardwood chips that have soaked in water for several hours. Place chips on the grill, along with the pan of tomatoes, and smoke for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes and the jalapenos seem to be somewhat cooked. When the ingredients have cooled, remove skins from the tomatoes and garlic and seed the jalapenos. Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor. The smoked tomato puree has many uses, as you can imagine. It makes a great base for barbecue sauce or a smoky pasta sauce. Callie likes to use it on broiled oysters with a cornbread topping. In fact, the Smoked Tomato Puree and oyster recipe appeared in Charleston Magazine a few years ago. Here is a basic idea of how she makes it.
Callie enhances two cups of the smoked tomato puree by mixing in 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. She simmers the mixture until hot and the sugar dissolves. Off the heat, she adds 2 sticks of butter, carefully by stirring in ONE PAT AT A TIME until the mixture is incorporated. Don’t stir in TOO much butter TOO fast, or the emulsion could separate. Callie seasons the sauce, to taste, with Kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
To complete the dish, Callie opens around 50 single select cleaned oysters and places them on a layer of rock salt on a heavy-duty baking sheet. She spoons about one tablespoon sauce over each oyster. then sprinkles the tops with fresh cornbread crumbs. Finally, she broils them until they are bubbly and brown.
Photo of Callie and Carrie copyright by Susan F. Slack . Photos of Carrie with pan of biscuits and ham biscuits from Callie’s Charleston Biscuits .