Buttery, Salty, Flaky: These Cheddar Biscuits Are Everything You Could Want in a Breakfast Food
A recipe for cheddar biscuits, excerpted from the cookbook Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, by Deb Perelman
This is the kind of biscuit you might make once on a whim, but should you make the “mistake,” as I did, of sharing it with family, friends, or perhaps an entire pre-kindergarten classroom, do know that it will not be the last time you make them—because puddles of crispy cheddar cheese you can pick off in salty, lacy chiplike flakes make an impression on people. Initially, I’d intended to add spinach (just a handful of fresh leaves, chopped harmlessly small) for more of a breakfast-in-one-hearty- cube effect, yet, strangely, nobody in the four-year-old set seemed pleased with this when I offered to do so next time. Having tested it both ways many times since, I’ve realized they’re not wrong.
If you, like me, love an accordion-like biscuit, with layers that spring tall, begging to be pulled apart in small, buttery squares, then the quarter- then-stack technique here (which I first learned from the wonderful Claire Saffitz) is so gloriously simple, you won’t want to make breakfast biscuits another way. With no fancy folds or turns, and not even a rolling pin required, this has not-really-a-morning-person, aka me, written all over it.
Sour Cream and Flaky Cheddar Biscuits
Makes 9 biscuits plus 1 snack
- 2¼ cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons (4 grams) kosher salt
- A few grinds of black pepper
- Heaped ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams, or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, diced
- 4 ounces (115 grams) sharp cheddar, cut into ¼-inch cubes (heaped ¾ cup)
- ¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream Flaky salt, to finish
Heat the oven to 400°f (205°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper, and onion powder. add the butter to the bowl, and use your fingers or a pastry blender to squash the pieces into flatter bits, pinching and tossing until the mixture has tiny clumps throughout. stir in the cheddar, then the sour cream. (the mixture will seem crumbly, but it will come together, i promise.)
Flour your counter, and dump the dough and any unmixed floury bits onto it, kneading it once or twice to bring it together. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick square. Use a knife or bench scraper to divide it into quarters; then stack the quarters. repeat this process, patting the dough into a thick square a second time, re-flouring the counter if needed, and stuffing any loose scraps of dough between the layers.
Transfer the dough slab to the prepared baking sheet, and pat it into a ¾-inch-tall square. Place the tray in the freezer and keep it there for 7 to 10 minutes, until it’s cool and semi-firm to the touch. remove from the freezer. Use a sharp knife to trim ¼ inch from each side, and squish these pieces into a bonus biscuit you do not need to tell anyone about. Cut the newly trimmed large square into nine approximately 2-inch-square bis- cuits, and space them out on the sheet. sprinkle with flaky salt. (if you’d like to bake them another day, freeze them at this point. Let them warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes—they will not fully defrost—before baking.)
Bake the biscuits for 16 to 19 minutes, until they are deep golden brown at the edges and some cheese is melted in crisp puddles around the edges. eat right away.
Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files. Copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Photography copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Book Design by Cassandra J. Pappas. Jacket Photography by Deb Perelman. Food Styling by Barret Washburne. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.