This recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com or in her cookbook, One Pan Whole Family.
Biscuits are among the most simple and cherished foods I can think of. Fluffy, pillowy insides with browned crispy outsides, biscuits can elevate a sparse meal of rice and beans to something that is fit for a king. Biscuits put the home in homey, but it’s hard to find a really good, light and flaky biscuit for purchase. The truth is, to get a great biscuit, you usually have to make it yourself. Sorry about that…but on the upside, it doesn’t take much time to make one that rivals the best of the south. You will get your fingers a bit messy, but that’s part of the charm, and there’s nothing like a biscuit made with your own hands, hot from the oven in under 40 minutes.
As basic as a biscuit is, there are a few rules involved in making a superior biscuit. Now, some would say there are lots of rules about making biscuits, all the way from the kind of flour used (southern soft wheat such as Lily flour) down to technique (cold butter, never melted), but most of us don’t really care that much about such details. We just want a tender and flaky biscuit in our hands, like, right now. After all, chilly weather is not that far into our future and a biscuit goes down so lovely with a soup or stew.
Two things to remember when making biscuits:
- Use cold, unsalted butter. I like to cut it into cubes by slicing down a stick of butter lengthwise in half, then again to make long quarter sticks, then cut crosswise to make cubes. That makes the butter the right size to be worked into the flour in just a few minutes. I direct you to use a snapping motion when blending as if you were snapping your fingers. The idea is to work that butter down into flaky bits so that when baked, the flakes melt and create a very textured interior.
- Don’t overmix when you add the liquid. I know, I know. It’s hard not to get everything all mixed up nice and tidy, but seriously, just give it a light toss with the buttermilk and stop. The science of it is that gluten (which toughens) is developed in the wet flour as you stir. So, less stirring creates less gluten which makes for the most tender, light biscuits.
The recipe below is a riff on the biscuits at Red Lobster. Cheesy and garlicky with a hint of heat from Hatch chiles, we could make a meal of these glorified biscuits at our house but they would be a great addition to a vegetable or corn soup from Heinen’s selection of soups to go. I couldn’t resist adding chiles, especially now that Hatch chile season is here and Heinen’s makes it easy by offering freshly roasted Hatch chiles for you to get your chile fever on. When you buy them whole and roasted, just scrape the blackened skin away with the edge of a knife, cut them open and scrape away the seeds, then chop as you like. You may also find Hatch chiles already seeded and chopped. I used spicy chiles in my batch of biscuits but if you’re not into heat you can use the mild variety instead.
Savory and rich, these might be the best biscuits I’ve had in a long time. You can bet that I’ll be serving these in all their buttery, cheesy glory throughout the fall. So, mind your biscuits and remember, you don’t have to have southern biscuit queen DNA to make great homemade biscuits. Just make these ones. Even if you’ve never made a biscuit in your life, these will be the best biscuits you ever tasted. You can play around with this recipe by subbing out another kind of cheese such as Gouda or Swiss, but whatever you do, keep the chiles!
It’s that easy: I love Hatch chiles so back to school usually means it’s also time to add hatch chiles to biscuits like these but also casseroles, vegetable side dishes like corn and even scrambled eggs.
Hatch Chile Cheddar Biscuits
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Hands on time: 15 minutes
Makes 12 biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder plus 1/4 teaspoon
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed plus 3 tablespoons melted
- 1 cup roasted, hatch chilies, chopped
- 1 cup chilled buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cheeses and butter in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, using a snapping motion, until no large lumps remain. It should take a few minutes. Add the chiles and buttermilk and stir just until mixed being careful not to overmix.
- Scoop the dough with a 1/4 cup measure onto the parchment lined pan, leaving about 2 inches between the biscuits. You should have about 12.
- Combine the 3 tablespoons melted butter with the 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and brush the tops of the biscuits. Give them a sprinkle of salt if you like and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden on top and browned on the bottom. Serve immediately.