We’re back on the mainland from two weeks in Kauai, Hawaii and to be honest with you, I’m conflicted. I keep going back and forth between wishing I could click my heels and be immediately transported back to the island and its beautiful landscapes and sunny skies and sandy beaches. But now, I’m bundled up here in a scarf and cozy knit blanket with a hot cup of coffee and the leaves outside are brilliant reds and oranges and yellows and I’m fully in love with this fall weather, too. Why can’t there be a place where both seasons can co-exist? I would live there forever and ever if I could.
But since I can’t do that, I’m going to embrace the cooler temps and the fact that I can bake these Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits in the oven without sweating in my kitchen. Though, let’s be real – I would make these biscuits anywhere and everywhere, because they’re worth it.
This biscuit recipe comes from my friend Cynthia’s new cookbook, A Common Table, and you guys, the book is spectacular. I don’t say this because she’s a blogger friend or for any other reason, really, other than it’s just absolutely true. The book is full of recipes that come from her kitchen, her heart and her shared cultures, and it all works together to weave a beautiful tale of her life and how it is expressed through her recipes. As always, I had a difficult time nailing down a recipe to make – do I try the Matcha-Glazed Swirl Bread? The Asian Pear and Jasmine Crumble? The Peanut Butter Mochi Cake? The Pimiento Cheese Macaroni Salad or Barter-Worthy Spam Musubi (both in homage to my recent trip, MISS U HAWAII)? The decision was nearly impossible, but biscuits are never a regrettable choice, and so here we are.
Cynthia incorporates a lot of my favorite biscuit-making techniques in her recipe, plus a few more tips I’d never considered: She grates the cold butter into the flour mixture and layers the dough to get that extra flakiness, but she also suggests not to turn the biscuit cutter when removing it from the dough to help the biscuits maintain their height in the oven and she starts the recipe calling for frozen butter. So genius! Henceforth I will be baking all of my biscuits like this, because the results were perfection. Delicately flaky, exceedingly tall, and full of melty cheddar cheese, thin-sliced scallions and a hint of garlic flavor. My family and I ate all of them in one sitting and everyone raved about them.
I loved this savory cheddar-scallion flavor combo for the biscuits, but good news if you’re not a savory biscuit lover: Cynthia has variations listed in the cookbook including one for blueberry biscuits topped with a sweet glaze, and I am ALL OVER THAT one, too, for the next time I bake biscuits (so, like, tomorrow). You can even make a double batch and flavor one with the savory ingredients and one with the sweet ingredients and then everyone will be happy with biscuit-filled bellies.
Cynthia, thank you for sharing your incredible biscuits and cookbook with us. Both are as much a treasure as you and your blog.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, nearly frozen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup thin-sliced scallions (about 3 small scallions)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg mixed with splash water (for egg wash)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Let butter thaw briefly if it's fully frozen, about 5-10 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and garlic powder. Use the largest holes on a box grater to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Use fingers to toss the butter into the flour until all the butter shreds are just coated. Add the cheese and scallions and toss with fingers again to combine.
- Add ¾ cup buttermilk to flour-butter mixture, stirring with wooden spoon or spatula gently just until dough comes together. If needed, use remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to moisten any dry bits that won't adhere to the dough. The dough should hold together and not be crumbly, but also not wet or sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Very gently pat dough into ½-inch thick rectangle. Fold bottom third of dough up and top third of dough down over bottom third, as if folding a letter. Gently pat down into ½-inch rectangle again, then fold again like a letter. Pat and fold one final time, then pat dough out to 1-inch thick.
- Use floured biscuit cutter to cut dough into rounds, being careful not to twist biscuit cutter when removing the rounds (alternatively, you can cut the dough into squares with a knife if you don't have a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter). Gather dough scraps and gently pat into 1-inch thick mass, then cut again to use up all the dough.
- Place rounds, sides gently touching, on baking sheet or in cast-iron skillet. Brush egg wash over biscuits. Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown on top.