One Bowl Baking: Ham and Cheddar Biscuits
A good biscuit makes me weak. As much as I adore desserts, it's the fat that I crave, not the sugar, and buttery biscuits satisfy. During my waitressing days, I'd stuff warm, hot biscuits into my pocket and scurry off the the employee restroom (yeah, the bathroom) to indulge. There's really no excuse for that sort of behavior, so I'll just leave it at that.
Though I usually make drop biscuits (mix up the batter, scoop, bake), lately I've been craving the flakier variety. To make 'em flakey is easy: work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers just until the butter chunks are about the size of large almonds. The dough is rolled out and then folded together like a book. In doing so, the pieces of butter are flattened somewhat into layers. When the biscuits are baked, the butter pieces melt, with the resulting steam pushing the dough apart into layers. Not overworking the dough, and chilling the biscuits before baking, helps to keep the butter cold and create the flaky effect.
Not much can top a plain buttered biscuit, except for say...ham and cheese? Sharp cheddar will give you the most flavor bang for your buck as too much cheese will interfere with the biscuit's flakey texture. And what to pair with the biscuits? Extra butter of course. Or perhaps a bubbling pot of smokey ham hock split pea soup.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and Let Them Eat Cake columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.