I've been in a biscuit phase which is a teeny unusual because I've got such a well known sweet tooth. But last month I got a request for a savory treat and biscuits were what ended up on the counter. Probably just because I didn't have the right ingredients for Ovenly's heavenly feta, scallion, and basil muffins (they are so good, you should check out their cookbook sometime) but that's besides the point. And here we are now, with a newfound love for biscuits and butter and all things salty.
But! Not just any biscuit - we are talking about achieving the ultimate flakiness, airy and light that is soft and fluffy on the inside, buttery and crisp on the outside. Before this most recent endeavor, my biscuit skills were sorely lacking - I usually would end up with less height than I hoped, a little tougher than I expected. Overall just really disappointing and maybe partially why my bakes typically gravitate towards cakes and cookies. But after watching Claire Saffitz make biscuits and then re-watching the same video only a million more times, I decided this was the year. The year I get a little more out of my comfort zone and get that perfect flake. And even though I still get a teeny bit nervy about things of the pie/scone/biscuit nature, new year is all about that newfound courage and reaching for the stars, right?
The thing I'm slowly learning more and more about baking - good, high quality baking - is that it's so much more about technique. Techniques help build a foundation and if it's anything I'm learning as I get older is that foundation is everything. Except I know you're rolling your eyes because I'm 26 and what do I know about getting older. Touché.
But anyways so more than anything, this recipe is much more about the technique than the flavors, which can honestly be anything you damn please. I used scallions, basil, and pepperjack cheese but you can go rogue - I've done this exact same technique with rosemary and white cheddar one time and I'm planning on whipping out my new everything bagel spice mix for the next.
Scallion & basil pepperjack cheese biscuits, adapted from Bon Appetit's best buttermilk biscuit
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, measured using the scoop-and-level method
- 4 oz pepperjack cheese, finely grated
- 1/4 cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and placed in the freezer for ~10 minutes, plus melted butter for brushing the tops of the biscuits
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk
- Flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, for topping biscuits
- In a chilled large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and flour until combined. Add the cheese, basil, and scallions and stir to combine. See notes.
- Add the chilled butter to the bowl and with a pastry cutter or with your hands, quickly work through the flour so that the butter bits blend into the flour so that the largest pieces of butter are about the size of large peas. This is a lot like making pie crust if you've done that before!
- Gradually drizzle buttermilk to the bowl, using a fork to mix around the buttermilk with the dry ingredients. Knead the mixture a few times gently in the bowl until a shaggy dough forms, then turn out onto a lightly dusted (key word is lightly) surface and pat into a 1 inch thick square.
- Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut the dough into 4 squares and then stack these pieces on top of one another. Press down to flatten, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1 inch thick rectangle. Use your bench scraper or knife to trim the rectangle so that the edges are clean, then cut the dough into a 4 x 3 grid to make 12 biscuits. If you have a lot of scraps, do the same process to make one final extra biscuit if you can, but it might not be as flaky since they will be re-rolled scraps. Place the biscuits onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart, then place the sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F. Take out your biscuits and brush the tops with melted butter, then sprinkle on flaky sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Place into oven and reduce the oven temperature to 400 F. Bake the biscuits until they are deep golden brown on the bottom and golden on the tops, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then enjoy - these are incredible warm!
- The most important thing about this recipe is to keep the ingredients as cold as possible! I like to put my bowl in the fridge to chill before adding the dry ingredients, and also putting it back into the fridge after mixing together the ingredients with the butter just to keep things extra cold!
- The second most important thing is to keep things loose - work gently with your dough, from measuring the flour to kneading the dough. The loose texture will keep the biscuits light and airy.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!