Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheddar Dill Biscuits

This morning I got some lovely emails. The first was from Karin over at "Feeding the Homeless." It appears that my Honey Spice Cookies last week went over like gangbusters. She managed to get one to try herself and really had nice things to say about them. Otherwise all 70 were gobbled up by the folks for whom she cooks each week in the local parks. Again, the sweets tended to get consumed before the rest of the meal.

The second nice email I received was from Cindy Cullen who has a site on culinary education. Cindy chose Sugar Pies for her list of "50 Best Southern Food Blogs." I was so thrilled to have her consider me in the same list as folks like Paula Deen and The Pioneer Woman. Thanks Cindy!

So, this morning I was ready to make something good in the kitchen. I chose to tweak an Ina Garten recipe for Cheddar Biscuits. The original recipe is featured in her Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook.

The recipe is really quite simple. This is a basic buttermilk and baking soda biscuit with cheddar cheese. Ina's recipe simply calls for Cheddar cheese but I thought it would be great to add some dill to this. Somehow Cheddar and dill just go together in my mind. Besides, I like the little bit of green alongside the color of the cheese.

Ina's recipe also calls for cutting these in squares, but I used a fluted cookie cutter because I like that shape better. Also, being from the South I thought these would make great breakfast biscuits when filled with some ham or thinly sliced chicken. The round shape seems easier to cut if you're going to do that. However, you can use whatever shapes you like. (I actually toyed with the idea of adding some jalapeno and then using my Saguaro Cactus cookie cutter for a true Tucson biscuit!)

I had a little dough left over after cutting the biscuits so decided to experiment and roll the dough into a twist shape and bake it. What I discovered is that these work very nicely for cheese twists as well. So, if you want to roll the dough then cut into strips and twist this will make a great appetizer or dinner accompaniment.

Anyway, these are very tasty and Michael even ate several after they came out of the oven despite the fact that he generally loathes biscuits. So, I consider that high praise since being from "up north" he tends to prefer rolls.

Remember, for flaky biscuits make sure all of the ingredients are very cold! Also, if you're using these for brunch or breakfast you can make the biscuits the night before and put them in the refrigerator then bake them off in the morning.

2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for processing)
12 tbs. cold butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed (or 1 tbs. fresh, chopped)
1 tbs. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Extra shredded cheddar for sprinkling
1 egg for egg wash

Preheat oven to 425°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine flour with cold butter that has been cut into cubes. Mix on low speed until butter resembles small peas. Add baking powder and salt and mix to combine.

Mix together cold buttermilk and cold egg in large measuring cup and whisk thoroughly. Pour buttermilk/egg mixture into flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined.

In small bowl toss together shredded Cheddar with a little flour (1 or 2 tbs.) This helps keep the cheese from settling to the bottom of the dough. Add cheese to dough and add dill weed. Mix to combine.

Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead about 5 or 6 times. Roll dough into rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Cut dough with biscuit or cookie cutters or slice into squares. Place dough on baking sheet lined with parchment.

In small bowl beat egg with a bit of water to form egg wash. Using a pastry brush brush top of each biscuit and sprinkle with a little coarse salt and shredded cheese.

Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are plump and beginning to brown. Serve hot or warm. Unused biscuits may be frozen in airtight container for up to 4 days and reheated in oven.
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