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Monday, May 14, 2012

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Oh, man.  I saw Ina Garten make these years ago, and I've been sitting on the recipe, as with so many others, until the time was right.

First of all, the flaky layers are awe-inspiring, how they rise, as they bake, into towers of pillowy satisfaction.  And those golden freckles of melted cheddar take them way, way over the top.

I'll concede, not the healthiest item on the blog.  But a cheddar biscuit goes with a lot of healthy things, like veg-loaded soups, salads, or omelettes.  Or it could just be your meal or snack, any time of day.  It is so tender, so flavorful, so darn deliciously flaky.

And thank you, Ina, you crazy upper-class diva with manicured gardens, beck-and-call husband, and fantasy-bubble life not a one of us can relate to.  Apparently I needed permission to make square, rather than round, biscuits, saving both time and dough.  And you gave it to me.  For that, and the nirvana that was eating one of these warm out of the oven, I thank you.
 Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits (print recipe)
Makes 8 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 T baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
12 T cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra-large egg
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 T water or milk
Sea salt for sprinkling, optional

1.  Preheat oven to 425.

2.  Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

3.  Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.  With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened.  In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with a small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough.  Mix only until roughly combined.

4.  Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times.  Roll the dough out to a rectangle 10 by 5 inches.  With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles.  Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, if using, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through.  Serve hot or warm.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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