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Cheddar Chive Biscuits

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Cheddar Chive Biscuits

The Biscuit Epiphany

Growing up in the Midwest, I never considered myself a biscuit aficionado. The only biscuits I had ever tasted were the ones that popped out of a tube in the grocery store dairy section. They were nothing like the tall, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth delights I would later discover.

All that changed when my husband, Scott, and I moved to North Carolina in the early 80s. At first, we were amused to find that there were entire restaurants dedicated solely to biscuits. “How crazy is that?” we thought. But the laugh was on us, because when we tasted our first southern biscuits (at a fast-food chain, of all places!), we were instantly converted. Those biscuits were tall, flaky, super light, and incredibly delicious. We had to literally eat our words.

From that point on, I became determined to master the art of biscuit making. But try as I might, the results were not exactly stellar. I began to think that perhaps you needed a bit of southern lineage to be a true biscuit-making savant.

Cracking the Biscuit Code

A few years ago, however, I discovered an amazing technique created by the smart folks over at Cook’s Illustrated. They figured out a way to simplify biscuit making that blew me away the first time I tried it. The traditional biscuit technique calls for combining flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then “cutting” in cold butter with a knife, a pastry cutter, or your fingers. The liquid is then added, and everything is gently combined. If done correctly, the tiny pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture, giving classic buttermilk biscuits their lightness, flakiness, and layers of peelable, buttery deliciousness.

This might not seem like a difficult task, but it was one I just couldn’t seem to master. The Cook’s Illustrated technique, however, is totally different… and ridiculously easy!

The Ridiculously Easy Biscuit Method

The first time I tried the Cook’s Illustrated method, I squealed a little when I opened the oven door to check my biscuits. Tall, golden, beautiful biscuits greeted my eyes, and I’ve had the same results every time since. These days, I’m feeling like a bona fide southern girl, finally a legitimate biscuit maker!

So, what’s the technique? It’s so easy, it’s almost unbelievable. You simply place a cup of buttermilk (one of the secrets of delicious biscuits) in the freezer for a few minutes while you melt butter in the microwave. Let the melted butter cool while stirring together the dry ingredients. The melted butter is then combined with the super-cold buttermilk. This is where the magic begins!

When the warm butter hits the cold liquid, small, buttery globules form. When this buttermilk mixture is added to the dry flour mixture and it’s all stirred together, you’ll notice tiny pieces of pale yellow butter dotting the simple dough. Yup, it will look just as if you spent the time to cut them in!

I first shared this technique several years ago in a post called Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits. Since then, I’ve received many emails and comments from happy readers who have become expert biscuit makers too. Here are a few I received just in the past couple of weeks:

“In my family, I am the biscuit baker. Everyone asks me to bring biscuits to family events. I tried your recipe yesterday for Thanksgiving – oh, my! I have a new recipe. What a hit!”

“These biscuits are genius!!!! I have tried making biscuits twice in the past (using other recipes) and they have not risen at all…more like hockey pucks than biscuits and I followed the recipes exactly. However, when I tried your recipe today, the biscuits turned out fantastic!”

“I have made these a few times and I am amazed at how much easier the buttermilk and butter method is compared to cutting in butter which I never really liked doing. Definitely the easiest recipe for biscuits I ever used, excellent!!”

One of my favorite comments came from a reader in Holland:

“Hello Chris, I did the same thing you did; I got up and ran to the kitchen after reading your recipe/method! With one difference: I’m Dutch, live in the Netherlands and it happened to be 4 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep… So I had an early breakfast… Thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe. Here in Holland, people are not familiar with biscuits and we don’t eat bread with our supper unless we eat chili or soup… but I after eating them in the States AND watching ‘the Waltons’ a lot I always wanted to make them. They always turn out tough or dry! I altered your recipe a little… I only put in one teaspoon of sugar and perhaps a little extra buttermilk because it seemed to dry at first. And I was afraid of kneading it too much, so I just picked up the dough, put it on some flour and formed a disk and cut them out. They are fantastic! Never ate anything like it! Such a crispy thin crust and almost cake-like on the inside… Now I know what was meant when someone said to Olivia Walton: these biscuits melt in the mouth!! Best wishes from Christine.”

Cheddar Chive Biscuits: The Cheesy, Herby Twist

For these Cheddar Chive Biscuits, I decided to adapt the original Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuit recipe to include cheddar cheese and finely sliced chives. Oh my, another delicious biscuit, perfect for serving with soups, salads, and/or just about any main entree. It’s just as easy as the original recipe – the cheese and chives are simply added with the dry ingredients.

Just like in the original recipe, the final step is a brush of melted butter just as the fragrant biscuits emerge from the oven. Pick up some cheddar cheese and a bunch of fresh chives next time you’re grocery shopping. If you’re like me, you might want to run to the store right now! It will take less than 15 minutes to throw these amazing Cheddar Chive Biscuits together. Your kitchen will smell incredible, and you too might find yourself squealing a bit when you open the oven door!

The Perfect Pairing

These Cheddar Chive Biscuits are the perfect complement to a wide variety of dishes. Serve them alongside a hearty soup or stew for a comforting and satisfying meal. They also pair beautifully with salads, adding a flaky, cheesy element that ties the whole plate together.

But the best part is, these biscuits don’t need to be relegated to just main courses. They make an equally delicious breakfast or snack, especially when topped with a pat of butter or a drizzle of honey. The combination of the sharp cheddar, fragrant chives, and buttery goodness is simply irresistible.

So, the next time you’re craving a warm, freshly baked biscuit, skip the tube and give these Cheddar Chive Biscuits a try. I promise, you’ll be smitten from the very first bite.

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