Flaky Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits / by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim

Flaky Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits

Yield: Yield: 8 to 10,  2 1/2-inch biscuits or 24, 1 1/2-inch biscuits

I love biscuits, but these, be forewarned, are crack. If you leave yourself alone with these for too long, you might end up eating them all in one sitting. Especially since they really are best eaten while warm, where you can appreciate each and every flaky layer coated in Cheddar and loaded with scallions. In my family scallions are practically a food group, so you can use a little less if it's too much. But I hope you'll stick with it and enjoy the onion-y fragrance in every bite.

If you want mile high flaky biscuits, roll the dough to 1 1/2-inches thick instead of 1-inch. The yield will be smaller, but they will be enormous! Keep them closer together while baking or they rise and fall all over the place instead of rising straight up. Which won't really matter because I trust you will eat them anyway. Now for my favorite part, the scraps. I don't believe in re-rolling biscuit dough to get a densely weird shaped biscuit (they never rise the same because all the layers have been smashed together.) I say no! Why bother? They will taste even better as a pile of flaky pastry in funky odd shapes which leads to some crispy bits. And those crispy bits basically taste like a Cheddar Goldfish or Cheez-It, but way better.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Prepare rimmed half sheet or baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and sea salt. Add butter to flour mixture and break it up using your hands or a pastry cutter. Personally I prefer using my hands so I can better control the size of the butter. I aim for slightly flattened shards of butter. Work quickly to prevent the butter from getting too warm, cold pieces of butter are the trick to flaky pastry.  Add cheese and scallions; toss together using your hands until they are all well coated in flour. Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in buttermilk in 2 to 3 batches, mix together using a wooden spoon completely before adding more buttermilk. Switch to your hands when it begins to form a ball of dough; do not overmix. The dough will be slightly sticky, just the way it's supposed to be. If it's too dry, add a few drops of buttermilk.
  3. Lightly flour a rolling pin and turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Don't add too much flour at once or the dough will dry out, just add bits of flour when you notice the dough might stick to a surface. Roll out dough to 1-inch thickness and fold into thirds. Gently roll dough back into 1-inch thickness preferably in a rectangular shape, but it doesn't really matter, I just like it to be evenly folded for the sake of the layers. Repeat the folding process to create more layers one more time and end with a 1-inch thick dough. Dip biscuit cutter in flour and cut in a straight down motion; avoid twisting so you don't seal those layers of heaven. Cut them as close together as possible to avoid wasting dough. Instead of rolling out remaining scraps together to form one or two last biscuits, I suggest to cut the remaning dough with a smaller biscuit cutter and bake off remaining bits in their odd shapes. They are the perfect snack and will be more tender without re-rolling since the layers will remain intact. 
  4. Place biscuits on sheet pan or baking dish side by side, they should be touching. This is one of the tricks to ensure even rising. If you have smaller biscuits and scraps, place them on a separate small sheet pan or even a mini cast iron pan; the smaller shapes will take less baking time. Lightly brush with egg wash but be careful only to brush the tops; try to avoid the edges as they can prevent the layers from rising. Note: I often skip the egg wash to keep it simple, the cheese will still give it a golden crust. 
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Baking time can vary depending on size of biscuit. Watch the scraps, they will be done in about 10 minutes. Rotate if necessary for even browning if your oven requires it, otherwise I prefer to keep the door shut to get maximum rising.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, extra for rolling

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen

5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and refrigderated

1 cup grated white Cheddar

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water