Monday, February 18, 2013

Drop Biscuits with Cheese & Chives

...a Pepper Jack and Yogurt Version.

Biscuits, mmmmmm, mmmmmm, who can resist a warm, fragrant, fresh-from-the-oven biscuit? Not me, especially if there's a spot of honey or pepper jelly to drizzle over each split half. 

Some biscuits are quite refined, rolled and folded flakey poufs, fancy ladies-lunch biscuits, proper little sweet cream numbers that are meant to be served in baskets lined with linen-napkins. I think generations of Southern cooks must have a special DNA strand that enables them to make perfect flakey biscuits effortlessly.

These are definitely not that type of biscuit. No, these craggy-topped drop biscuits are more rustic, savory and toothsome with a coarser, more open crumb. They seem designed to soak up honey butter or sausage gravy. They are often called to accompany chili or a hearty soup or stew. These biscuits are macho on the outside, and tender on the inside. Hey, that describes some people I know and love

Cheese and Chive Biscuits are delicious all by themselves, or plan to serve them split open and filled for sandwiches. Try one with your favorite chicken salad, or piled with thinly sliced ham, a slather of Dijon and a lettuce leaf. Pair one with scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, or add some crumbled bacon to the batter for Bacon, Cheese and Chive Biscuits. Oh my, I'm getting hungry just thinking about even more possibilities. 

Why use yogurt? The original Bon Appetit recipe called for 8 ounces of buttermilk, but I didn't have any on hand. The Greek yogurt and milk combination worked out so well as a substitute that I'll continue to use yogurt in future batches. I always have yogurt in the refrigerator, not so much any buttermilk. 

Cheese and Chive Drop Biscuits with Yogurt
adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2010

yield: Makes 8
active time: 25 minutes
total time: 55 minutes

       Scant 2 cups flour, AP or bread flour
       3/4 tablespoons baking powder
       3/4 teaspoons baking soda
       1/2 teaspoons salt
       1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus extra melted butter for brushing
       1 cup (packed) coarsely grated pepper jack cheese (about 12 ounces)
       1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
       1 6-oz container plain Greek yogurt (I like Greek Gods brand)
       2 tablespoons milk
       Honey (optional)

  1. Position an oven rack just above center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. 
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in food processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter cubes and blend until coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. 
  3. Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl. Add cheese and fresh chives; toss to blend. Gradually add yogurt and milk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will feel quite sticky).
  4. Using lightly floured hands, pat dough into balls, OR use generous 1/3 cup batter for each biscuit, and drop onto prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Brush the biscuit crusts all over lightly with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes. (If you want crusty biscuits, cool them uncovered. If a softer crust is desired, then wrap the hot biscuits in a clean dish towel.) 
  6. Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature with honey, if desired.
Cook's Note: Today's batch used Greek God's honey yogurt and added 1/4 cup of mint to the dough. These biscuits were super delicious split and drizzled with honey! No, I don't think I'll pair them with sausage gravy or chili. 

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