Biscuits for CV(D)

CV(D) and some of our coworkers, past and present, recently shared a lovely meal at one of my favorite haunts.  We did that thing polite ladies do, where they inquire as to whether anyone is getting an appetizer.  Around those with whom I’m not as well acquainted, I tend to play it shy, and follow others’ leads.  Not so with this crew.  When we did the whole, “are we getting appetizers?” thing, I spoke up right away, bursting at the seams in support of the table biscuits. They were embarrassingly large, and melt in your mouth amazing.

Looking to replicate those buttery, layered, flaky, disks in her own kitchen, CV(D) asked me for my most favorite biscuits.  I emailed her a link for Ina’s, which I’ve made several times without being disappointed (duh).

biscuit doughNever being one to leave things alone, however, I didn’t make those for Thanksgiving.  I made Joy the Baker’s cheddar chive and jalapeno (but without the jalapeno) biscuits instead.  They’re from her cookbook, which I haven’t whipped out much since this summer, and miss terribly.  They came to me in a vision in between Thanksgivings two and three, when I started shamelessly adding all the foods I missed not having eaten yet to my final Thanksgiving table.

And they hit the spot, with that same comforting taste our table biscuits had so many weeks before.  Oh man, were my favorite parts those cheesy bits that oozed out through the sides.  See ’em down there?

biscuits bakedOur final Thanksgiving feast was one for a mere five people.  I made 15 biscuits.  No one was too upset that there were so darn many of them.  Especially those of us with gravy in serious need of sopping up.

To make 15 of your own, you will need:

  • 3 C flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C cold buttermilk, plus more for topping
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeds partially removed, diced small (this was not something lying around in my kitchen on Thanksgiving evening, so I completely left it out)
  • 1/4 C minced chives
  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • coarse sea salt, for topping

Place rack in center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and butter in bowl of food processor.  Pulse mixture until butter is the size of small peas.  This is the lazy man’s method.  Alternately, do this in a mixing bowl, mixing everything except the butter first, then cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter or two forks.

In a small bowl (or measuring cup if you don’t like doing dishes), whisk together buttermilk and egg.

Pour flour mixture into large bowl, add cheese, jalapeno (if using), and chives.  Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture, and add buttermilk mixture all at once.  Toss together with a fork, making sure that all the flour bits are moistened by the buttermilk.  Mixture will be shaggy.  That’s that flaky biscuit goodness that we all love.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured space, and knead for 8-10 minutes, to bring everything together.  Smack that dough out to a 1 1/2 inch thickness, and start cutting 2 1/2 inch circles.  You can do this with a biscuit cutter, or the mouth of a drinking glass.  When you’ve cut all the circles you can, bring the remaining dough back together, and pound it to a 1 1/2 inch thickness again.  Keep repeating the cutting process until you’ve used all your dough.

Place biscuits on baking trays, brush with buttermilk, and top with salt.  Bake 12 – 15 minutes.  Eat them as soon as you possibly can.*

*Biscuits are always best immediately, but when you’re preparing a feast, that’s not always an option.  In that case, let them cool completely, and reheat them in the oven the next day.

We put our leftovers on top of this.

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