These tall, flaky, Ridiculously Easy Cheddar Chive Biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth-delicious. They'll have you quite smitten, at the first bite!
Growing up in the Midwest, I was never a biscuit aficionado. There was a good reason; the only biscuits I ever tasted were the kind that popped out of a tube. You know, the ones found in the dairy section of every local grocery store. They were nothing like these tall, flaky, Ridiculously Easy Cheddar Chive Biscuits that will melt in your mouth and have you smitten with the first bite!
All that changed when Scott and I moved to North Carolina in the early 80's. At first, we laughed when we discovered that, in the South, there were entire restaurants devoted just to biscuits! How crazy is that, we thought. But the laugh was on us, because when we tasted our first southern biscuits (at a fast food chain, of all places!), we loved them. We had to (literally) eat our words. The biscuits were tall, flaky, super light and incredibly delicious.
My mom was a big bread maker so I was familiar with yeast baking, but not biscuit making. I tried the "biscuit thing" a couple times over the years, but the results were not stellar (at all). I began to think that perhaps you needed a bit of southern lineage to a be a good little biscuit maker.
Easier, quicker and just as delicious!
But a few years ago, I discovered an amazing technique created by the smart folks over at Cooks Illustrated. They figured out a way to simplify biscuit making that blew me away the first time I tried it.
The traditional biscuit technique calls for combining flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt, then “cutting” in cold butter with a knife, a pastry cutter or between your fingers. The liquid is then added and everything is gently combined. If done correctly, the tiny pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture, giving classic buttermilk biscuits their lightness, flakiness and layers of peelable, buttery deliciousness. This might not seem like a difficult task, but it was one I just couldn't seem to master.
The Cook’s Illustrated technique is totally different… and ridiculously easy! The first time I tried it, I squealed a little when I opened the oven door to check my biscuits. Tall, golden, beautiful biscuits greeted my eyes and I've had the same results every time since. These days, I'm feeling like a bona fide southern girl, finally a legitimate biscuit maker!
What's the technique? So easy! Just place a cup of buttermilk (one of the secrets of delicious biscuits) in the freezer for a few minutes while you melt butter in the microwave. Let the melted butter cool while stirring together the dry ingredients. The melted butter is then combined with the super cold buttermilk. This is where the magic begins!
When the warm butter hits the cold liquid, small, buttery globules form. When this buttermilk mixture is added to the dry flour mixture and it’s all stirred together, you’ll notice tiny pieces of pale yellow butter dotting the simple dough. Yup, it will look just as if you spent the time to cut them in!
I shared this technique several years ago in this post called Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits.
Since then I've gotten many emails and comments from happy readers who have become expert biscuit makers too. Here are a few I received just in the past couple weeks:
In my family, I am the biscuit baker. Everyone asks me to bring biscuits to family events. I tried your recipe yesterday for Thanksgiving – oh, my! I have a new recipe. What a hit!
These biscuits are genius!!!! I have tried making biscuits twice in the past (using other recipes) and they have not risen at all…more like hockey pucks than biscuits and I followed the recipes exactly. However, when I tried your recipe today, the biscuits turned out fantastic!
I have made these a few times and I am amazed at how much easier the buttermilk and butter method is compared to cutting in butter which I never really liked doing. Definitely the easiest recipe for biscuits I ever used, excellent!!
One of my favorite comments came from a reader in Holland:
These tall, flaky, Ridiculously Easy Cheddar Chive Biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth-delicious. They'll have you quite smitten at the first bite!
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 8 tablespoons butter plus one more for brushing
- 2 cups all-purpose flour more for counter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup finely sliced fresh chives extra for garnish, if desired
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Measure 1 cup of buttermilk and place the cup in the freezer while prepping other ingredients (you want it to be in the freezer about 10 minutes).
Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel over the top and heat on high for 30 seconds. If not completely melted, return to microwave for 10-second intervals till melted. Set aside to cool a bit while prepping other ingredients.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add cheese and chives. Stir to combine.
After buttermilk has been chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes, combine it with the melted butter. Stir with a fork until butter forms small clumps or globules.
Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with a sturdy spatula just until all flour is incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of the bowl. The dough should be stiff and not super wet. If the dough is wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to combine, until dough is fairly stiff.
Generously spread flour over your work surface. Dump biscuit dough from bowl onto prepared work surface and turn to coat all surfaces with flour. Knead on counter 5-6 times (about 20-30 seconds). Flip over on work surface to coat with flour then pat into a 6-inch square. It should be 1 ½-2-inches in height.
Cut as many biscuits as you can with a biscuit cutter (this will depend on what size cutter you use). Place biscuits on the prepared sheet pan. Knead scraps a few times till they hold together, then pat into a small circle and cut more biscuits. Transfer last biscuits to the sheet pan, spacing about 1 ½ inches apart. (See Café Tips in post for an even easier cutting technique).
Place in oven and bake until tops are a medium golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Start checking after about 8 minutes, as every oven is different.
Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and brush tops of hot biscuits with melted butter. Sprinkle with more finely sliced fresh chives. Serve and enjoy!