It’s January and I’m in full hibernate mode with soups and stews overloading my stove and palette. I love them creamy, brothy, rich and thick; I’m there. One thing I love even more than a good soup is bread to go with it though (see here for an example). Last year, on an impulse, I bought the Cook’s Illustrated Soups and Stews magazine and found this recipe for drop biscuits. Its simple, it’s delicious and I am obsessed with these biscuits.
I love biscuits and have since I was a small child. Biscuits meant that there was soup or something delicious to eat, usually slathered in butter. Then I was obsessed with some Pillsbury ultra flaky ones that peeled apart into layers (which I may have loved simply by dint of the fact that they looked like pages stacked together and baked). But as I (and my palette) grew up and learned more about baking I grew away from the Pillsbury biscuits in a tube and started to look for a perfect biscuit recipe. My sister obsessively made some from The Joy of Cooking but I found them a bit dry and wasn’t a fan. So I kept searching.
I got this issue of Cooks Illustrated for the ramen recipe (which I still haven’t tried; I really need to get some good miso) but instead found this little gem regarding perfect drop biscuits. I tried it, thinking that at worst it would cost me some flour and buttermilk. These were perfect, flaky and chewy without being messy or crumby. These are flexible; I used them later to make shortcakes by adding some extra sugar and cinnamon and I almost always add a handful of good quality cheddar cheese and a few spices. I love a recipe that is flexible like this and will move to be whatever I want. Also there is none of that classic cutting butter in. An ingenious method involving melted butter and really cold butter milk makes really consistent butter chunks evenly distributed into a simple flour mixture.
Cheddar-Chive Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated: Soups & Stews
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup scallions, chopped finely
1/2 cup good quality cheddar cheese (I used Cabot)
1 cup buttermilk (straight from the fridge and v cold)
1 stick (8 Tbs) butter, melted and allowed to cool a little bit
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, scallions, and cheese to a large bowl and whisk them until evenly mixed (5-6) stirs. In a separate bowl, or a 2 cup measuring cup, mix together the melted butter and buttermilk. It will look lumpy and it will not be pretty, that’s ok. It will taste delicious. Add the butter/buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just mixed, again 5-6 stirs. Scoop out the biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush some additional melted butter or some milk on top of the biscuits or sprinkle some extra cheese on there. Bake them for 10-12 mins. They will be a light golden brown and totally delicious. Enjoy these biscuits with whatever you want; I like mine at breakfast with an egg and some hollandaise or served with whatever soup I’ve made most recently. Perfect.