Cheddar Herb Biscuits

30 09 2010

Freshly baked biscuits flecked with herbs and cheddar are the perfect accompaniment to a hearty bowl of soup

Now that fall has arrived and the weather has cooled, it’s soup season!  I love making soup and am always experimenting with different ingredients to come up with hearty versions that are a meal on their own (see below for links to my favourite soup recipes).  Of course, crackers or bread are classic accompaniments to a comforting bowl of soup but why not try something different by making some hot, fresh biscuits?

Some people are a bit intimated by working with biscuit dough but it’s not difficult if you follow a few guidelines. To make flaky and flavourful biscuits, here are a few tips:

  • Use cold, unsalted butter – don’t substitute margarine.
  • Don’t handle the dough too much.  This will make the biscuits tough and melt the butter, keeping them from puffing up during baking.
  • Use a wire pasty cutter (or two sharp knives) to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  The dough should look like small, coarse pebbles once the dough has been thoroughly mixed in.
  • Baking powder is the key ingredient to help the biscuits rise.  Make sure your powder is fresh and still active.
  • Buttermilk gives the biscuits a nice tangy flavour.  If you don’t have buttermilk, check out these Buttermilk Substitutes.  Regular milk is ok in a pinch but the biscuits won’t be quite the same.
  • Use old or extra old cheddar for the best flavour.
  • Cook the biscuits in a hot oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit) that has been adequately pre-heated.

Cheddar Herb Biscuits

Makes about 12 biscuits

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the countertop
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup (packed) grated old cheddar cheese
  • 5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and chopped herbs. Stir with a fork until combined.
  3. Add the grated cheese and use your fingers to gently distribute it through the dough so it’s not all in one clump.
  4. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Using a wire pastry cutter or two sharp knives, cut the butter into the dough until it looks like small pebbles.
  5. In a mug or glass measuring cup, add the buttermilk, egg and mustard and stir with a fork until smooth.  Pour into the flour mixture and gently mix together until the dough just holds together.
  6. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean countertop and turn out the dough onto the counter.  Use your hands to shape it so it just holds together.  Flatten the dough so it’s in a circle about 1″ thick.
  7. Use a cookie cutter or the top of a glass to cut out round biscuits (a 2-1/2″ circle is a good size).  Place the biscuits into a pie plate or baking dish so they are just touching one another.  Re-form any dough scraps and cut out the remainder of the biscuits.
  8. Let the biscuits rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.  Place the oven rack in the centre position and bake the biscuits for 15 minutes or until they are golden on top.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Here are a few of my favourite hearty autumn soups to go with the biscuits:

Beef, Barley and Mushroom

Peppery Leek and Potato

Curried Parsnip Soup

Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers

Cabbage Roll Soup

Chicken Noodle

Mushroom Soup

Seafood Chowder

Curried Parsnip Soup topped with a few cooked mussels

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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