Creole Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 8 biscuits
Creole Spice adds just the right oomph to these cheese-flecked biscuits — the Spanish smoked paprika is optional but it adds color and an alluring scent. Try serving them with soup and a green salad for a fine supper.
Biscuits are simple to make, but for flaky layers you have fold the dough a few times. This is simpler than it may seem from the written description. For a visual aid, check out online tutorials on making flaky biscuits.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
11/2 teaspoons Creole Spice
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika, optional
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold (3/4 stick)
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cultured buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon grated garlic (from 1 medium clove)
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line rimmed baking sheet with baking parchment.
Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, Creole Spice, smoked paprika (if using), and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Grate the butter into the flour on the large holes of a box grater. Use your fingers and a light touch to toss the grated butter in the flour.
Use a pastry cutter or two dinner knives to cut the butter and flour together
until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand (no butter bits bigger than a small
pea). Add the grated cheese and toss with your hands to distribute it through the flour mixture.
Stir the garlic into the buttermilk and pour it into the flour mixture all at once.
Use a flexible bowl scraper or rubber spatula and quick, strong strokes to fold the liquid into the flour until a shaggy dough forms. (The dough will be fairly wet.) Gently, use your hands to gather the dough into a ball and transfer it to a well- floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough.
Pat the dough into a rectangle that’s about 3/4-inch thick. Fold short sides of the rectangle over the center, roughly in thirds like a letter (it’s OK if it breaks). Pat it out again, then fold it again. Pat it out a third time into a neat, 11/2-inch thick rectangle.
Cut the biscuits using a large, very sharp knife. First cut the dough in half long-wise, then in half width-wise to make four sections. Cut each section into two pieces to make eight biscuits.
Gently transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet, separating them by about a 1/2 inch. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes or so before serving.
Note: You can have these biscuits at the ready by making the dough and cutting the biscuits then freezing the unbaked biscuits on a baking sheet. After the biscuits are fully frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and return them to the freezer. (They’ll keep for about a month.) Bake them straight from the freezer without defrosting. You may need to increase the baking time by a couple of minutes but you’ll thank yourself for planning ahead!