Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheesey Herb Biscuits

Of all the memories I have of baking with my mother, one of the best was making biscuits.  A lot of times, biscuits were an impromptu decision because she either didn't have any bread or didn't have enough to feed all of us, so she whipped up biscuits.  Which, by the way, I loved almost as much as scones.  Now, I could have made bread, bagels, or English muffins when I got up at 4:30 a.m., but I chose to play with my cat, start a load of wash, and catch up on emails.  So, when my husband said he wanted poached eggs for breakfast, when he got up, I needed to "whip" up something quick to satisfy his hunger.  The memory of biscuits popped into my head!

Biscuits, here in America, refer to a leavened bread item, however in European countries, the term biscuits is associated with a somewhat sweeter treat that was baked, cooled, then, kept warm in the oven until eaten.  This is where the term biscotti (twice baked) came from.  However, it's cold outside and we had our second snowfall a few days ago (not as bad as the east coast, though) and baking something quick would do the trick.
My daffodils had started to come up, but got a reality-check that Spring is still a few months away!
Warm biscuits, like Mom made, came to mind to support poached eggs or smear with jam as I did.  They're easy to make and in a hot oven (450F-degrees) bake in 8 minutes.  That would calm any hungry body in your house.  In addition, I made up some grits to go with my biscuit-breakfast.  If you've never had grits, you're missing out on something really satisfying.

I was born in Tennessee and grits have always been a staple in our home.  When I would visit Kelly in Kentucky, our breakfast selection always included grits.  She got hooked on them when she attended the North Carolina School of Performing Arts/Summer 1990.  So much so, that when she attended school in New England, my Dad would send her care packages with Instant Grits in it so she could just microwave a bowl before classes (although, I think she also made them for dinner too!)  Ari is no different from his mama and he started to "share" my bowl of grits when he was just over a year old.

Cheesy Herb Biscuits
1 3/4 cups All-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 T granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 T dried Chives (if you have fresh, you 1/4 cup--mine are under snow!)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (you can also use gruyere, provolone, or your favorite hard cheese)

Heat oven to 500F-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, measure out all the dry ingredients and whisk them to incorporate.  Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture, coating the cubes well.  Using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter.
The mixture should resemble coarse "sand" when it's incorporated.  Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk.  I switched to my dough whisk to mix the dough--only mixing enough to bring the dough together.  Place dough on a lightly floured board and kneading slightly, bring it together.  Using your hands, pat the dough into a 3/4-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle the surface with the grated cheese and fold the right side to the middle, then the left side over the right. 
Using a rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/2-inch thick.  Use a floured round cutter to cut biscuits.  Place on the parchment lined baking sheet.  Melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the tops.  Lower the oven to 450F-degrees and Bake 8 minutes.
The biscuits come out nicely golden on top with some of the cheese oozing out--yum, yum.  The combination of the HOT oven and the cold butter (and buttermilk) makes these biscuits so flaky, that you can just lift the top off.
Whether it's out of necessity or a craving, biscuits make an excellent choice for cold mornings...and brings back some fond memories as we come to a close of another year.  From my kitchen to yours, Happy New Year and Happy Baking.  Enjoy!

I have to add another photo that Erin took this morning after making Maddie Cheesey Biscuits--she's actually saying, "Cheese!"

 

7 comments:

  1. We had poached eggs for breakfast this morning also, but on English muffins. I wish I had thought to make biscuits---these look really good with the cheese and chives. Grits is a staple at our house too. Dick likes his grits with sugar and milk---I like mine with salt, pepper and butter----weird, huh? Yes, even for breakfast!

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  2. I went back and looked at your picture again and I do believe you have salt, pepper, and butter on your grits too!!! (Dick must be the weird one!)

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  3. I like my grits with a fried sunny side up egg on top.
    Kelly made fun that I would ask for that whenever I was sick.
    I never have a loaf of bread around-I'm just not a sandwich person so
    biscuits are a good idea now that you mention it!

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  4. Yes, Dick is the weird one :-D Dad's rule: Always salt, pepper, and butter! xoxo

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  5. i love your stories about your family, it nice to hear about kelly through you. i hope you have a wonderful new year. blessings to you.

    ps. they call cookies biscuits in australia too.

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  6. My dear Susan,

    I am sending along my hopes that this year is kinder to you and yours. I read that Desiderata each day and find truth in different sections each day. it helps me.

    Thinking of you and your cheesey biscuits and BEAUTIFUL Maddie, who really looks like my Sara May.

    Our grands light our lives...don't they? You give so much.

    With love,

    Sharon

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  7. well little miss maddie's 'cheese' smile made me smile, i see that erin takes after her mama in the cooking dept! i appreciate hearing about kelly's love for grits and the stories behind that! i would love to hear more of what she was studying at the performing arts school. i will have to make these biscuits to go with all the amazing homemade jam somebody very special sent to our house! : ) xo

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