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Cheddar-Jalapeño Biscuits

November 11, 2010

I take biscuits very seriously.

First, let’s get one thing straight, this is not a biscuit:

That is a cookie, a delicious chocolate-covered cookie with crunchy bits of toffee that makes you regret ever criticizing mass-produced junk food, but a cookie nonetheless.  (Cadbury didn’t pay me to say that, but if they would like to, they are welcome to send me a lifetime supply of these suckers, care of Wolfson College in Oxford.)

Biscuits, on the other hand, turn out to be an American thing. I even checked our local KFC, purveyor of fine factory-made biscuits in the states, and they don’t even sell them here. They don’t have potato wedges either, but that’s another rant for another post.

Luckily, biscuits are deceptively easy to make, especially “drop” biscuits. They aren’t as uniform in shape, but there’s no rolling, no cutting, no covering your counter and yourself in flour. I don’t even use a spoon for this; I just mix the whole thing with my hands.

Just a heads-up for the photos: the recipe below makes 12 biscuits; I made half of that because 6 biscuits per person seemed dangerous. If you manage to save some, they reheat very well for the next couple of days. I keep them wrapped up in the fridge and reheat them in a low-temp oven.

You start with flour, salt and baking powder. (The reflectiveness on the inside of this bowl is really starting to bug me.)

Add butter.

Crumble the butter between your fingers until it looks like this, what the cookbooks all call “the size of peas.” This is the part that you actually have to practice a few times.

Mix in some jalapenos from the jar and some shredded cheddar. (I know you can’t see them, but trust me, they are there.) If you are using stateside cheddar, your biscuits will look a lot more orange. You can also skip this step and proceed with the milk for plain biscuits.

Add milk a bit at a time and combine quickly to avoid over-working it. You don’t necessarily need to use the full amount of milk –  The texture you want is somewhere between play-dough and gak, if that helps.

Drop biscuits onto a lined and greased baking sheet. You don’t have to line it, but I find it easier to peel them off the bottom that way.

Bake until golden brown. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before diving in.

Cheddar-Jalapeño Drop Biscuits

Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Takes 20 minutes
Makes 12 biscuits

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños, minced
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add butter, and crumble in with your fingers until you have pea-sized chunks.
4. Mix in jalapeños and cheese.
5. Add milk, a quarter-cup at a time, and combine with a few swift strokes (either mixing with your hand or a spoon.) The mixture should be very wet and sticky, but not runny.
6. Drop handful-sized biscuits on a lined and greased baking sheet.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 11:55 pm

    This is interesting! I havent tried hot biscuits yet, will definitely try this one out


  2. November 13, 2010 10:46 pm

    I’m gonna try these out. Right after my indignation subsides. No delicious buttery biscuites at KFC?! That’s hardly a KFC at all.


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