Monday, April 26, 2010

Paprika Cheddar Drop Biscuits

If I told you that you could have some of the most unbelievable, buttery, flaky, homemade biscuits you’ve ever had, on your table in under 30 minutes, would you believe me? What if I said you could probably make them with ingredients you already have on hand? Or that the biscuits would be so easy to make that even a baking novice could master them? Would you believe me? You should.

Since I cook and bake all the time, I have pretty high standards for things coming out of my oven. As I continue to build my skills and expand my palate, it takes more and more to seriously impress me. (I’m my own harshest critic.) Needless to say, these biscuits impress me. They impress me greatly, so much so that I actually said “wow” out loud after my first bite. And I was the only one home.

Now let’s talk taste. In a word: un-freakin-believable. I don’t often make biscuits at home, but I can honestly say I’ve never made such rich, flavorful biscuits. Probably because, back in the day, I made mine with Bisquick. Not that there’s anything wrong with Bisquick, it’s just not the same thing as made-from-scratch. And when made-from-scratch is this easy, why not give it a try?

These biscuits are light and flaky on the outside with a soft, tender center. They are even richer than your average biscuit thanks to a generous amount of cheddar cheese running through the dough. Smoked paprika gives the biscuits that extra something special, enhancing both their color and flavor. You can serve them as a snack (straight from the oven perhaps?) or alongside eggs for breakfast. The biscuits would also make a great accompaniment to soups, stews, salads, entrées, bread baskets… you get the idea. I don’t care how you serve them – just promise me you’ll make them.

Paprika Cheddar Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. sweet smoked paprika, plus more for dusting *
6 T. unsalted butter, very cold, diced **
6 ounces sharp cheddar, finely grated
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

* Use regular paprika if you don’t have smoked paprika.
** I accidentally used salted butter instead of unsalted, but they were still delicious if a little saltier.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and paprika.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or your fingers, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are still some small lumps in it.

Stir in the cheese.

Pour in the cream and mix, using a rubber spatula, until just combined. The dough will still be quite sticky. Don’t overwork the dough or the biscuits will not be flaky.

Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Evenly space the biscuits about an inch apart.

Lightly dust the tops of the biscuits with a little smoked paprika.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Remove the parchment paper and biscuits to a wire cooling rack for a few minutes.

Remove the biscuits from the parchment paper and continue cooling on the cooling rack.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Make 12 biscuits.

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