I like to imagine that if the Three Wise Men had been three Southern women, they would have come bearing three very different gifts: Something Beautiful, Something Practical and Something Edible. Maybe a handmade receiving blanket. Certainly a big tube of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. And a basket full of warm Double-Cheddar Holiday Biscuits.
I was going to post the biscuits for Meatless Monday, but then I wouldn’t have been able to mention just how good they are when they’re warm and filled with peppery scrambled eggs and thick-cut bacon that’s been fried to a crisp. Or country ham and a few spoonfuls of redeye gravy. Or smoked country sausage with just the right amount of kick to it.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine anything that wouldn’t be better with one of these biscuits.
They’re made mostly with heavy cream instead of buttermilk, so they’re crisp on the outside and rich and buttery inside. The Cheddar doesn’t just turn up in every other bite. It’s as obvious and undeniable as the light of the sun, only better, because the sun isn’t made of cheese.
If you’d like to get ahead of the holiday tidal wave, make a big batch (or two) of these biscuits and freeze them. Then, when someone drops by or you need something to take to a potluck, you can slide them into the oven for maybe five minutes and have something so delicious it will make other people hate you.
And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
Double-Cheddar Holiday Biscuits
From Scott Peacock via “Better Homes and Gardens” (Dec. 2011)
Makes about 2 dozen
- 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, room temperature
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded sharp orange cheddar cheese, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne.
- Add shredded cheeses, then work in well with your fingers.
- Add the cold butter. Using your fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles the texture of oatmeal with some large marble-size pieces.
- Stir in the heavy cream.
- Add buttermilk, and stir just until absorbed. (Dough will be a little shaggy and dry.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Using your hands, press and knead into a cohesive dough.
- Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
- With a fork dipped in flour, prick evenly spaced holes all over the dough.
- Grab a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, and cut the dough into rounds. Place them about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheet.
- Gather dough pieces, re-roll, cut out, and place on baking sheet. (At this stage the biscuits can be lightly covered and refrigerated for 1 hour before baking.)
- Bake biscuits for 16 to 18 minutes, until well browned, rotating pan if needed to ensure even browning. Cool slightly before serving. (To reheat biscuits, warm them at 350 degrees F for 3 to 5 minutes.)Note: Store baked biscuits at room temperature up to 3 days, or freeze them up to 1 month. Remove biscuits from freezer, and thaw at room temperature. Reheat for 3 to 5 minutes at 350 degrees F.Nutrition Facts (per biscuit): 197 calories, 5 g protein, 18 g carbs, 12 g fat, 1 g fiber.