Yes, that is a cheesy title. No, this post is not about Cheetos (too bad, I know; they’re totally my secret guilty pleasure love o’ life). This happy Friday post is, however, about an equally cheese-infused bite that I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d bake and then so joyfully nosh. Today is all about the cheese biscuit.
I’m not really sure when my aversion to the cheese biscuit concept began. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad cheese biscuit. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve had many to speak of at all. And I’m from the Midwest, where cheese with anything seems to be fairly beloved fare. Still, something about the idea of putting gobs of cheese into already rich dough always seemed unnecessary to me. It was like spreading butter on top of shortbread or drizzling syrup on a sandwich. What’s the point? A biscuit is delicious all on it’s own. Why mess with success? It turns out I was mistaken.
I happened across this recipe for cheese biscuits on Food52 last week, and for some reason it caught my eye. Perhaps the pregnancy is to blame for my sudden shift in tastes, but after reading about these light and fluffy baked goods with their “subtle bite of cheddar,” something inside me said this was a biscuit I could love. And love, love, love them I do. Not only are they super simple to bring together, but they’re also the perfect blend of soft, airy deliciousness. Eat them as a side, dot them with butter, or enjoy them all by their lonesome. Just don’t forget to share.
From Merrill, Food52.com
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold unsalted butter
• 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 1 large egg
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and put it in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, cut the butter into chunks, and leave out at room temperature, until it’s malleable but not too soft.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chilled dry ingredients, cheese and butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low for a few minutes, until the chunks of butter are no bigger than a large pea.
Add the buttermilk to the bowl, and mix on low just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, dust your fingers with flour and gently knead it a few times. Quickly and carefully pat the dough into a large rectangle about ½ inch thick.
Dip a 3-inch round cutter with sharp edges in flour, and cut the biscuits using an even downward motion, without twisting the cutter. Transfer the rounds of dough to the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between them. When you’ve cut the first batch of biscuits, gently pat the dough into another rectangle, and cut a few more. Rather than reshape the dough a third time (this will make the biscuits too tough), just pat the leftover shapes together to make them roughly biscuit-size, and add them to one of the baking sheets. The last few won’t be as pretty as the cut biscuits, but they’ll still taste delicious.
Beat the egg with a splash of water, and brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with the egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the biscuits are a deep golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, but serve them while still warm.
Have you discovered any newfound loves in baking lately? What’s on your menu for this weekend? Can’t wait to hear about it!