For about three to four years now I have had a bit of an infatuation with biscuits. I love them all and I have been trying just about every & any recipe I can. I have tried a variety of recipes: drop ones, rolled out ones, different flours, assorted fats, not to mention a multitude of ways to moisten the dough. It seems to be a never ending quest. A few weeks ago I missed my weekly dose of Splendid Table. When I arrived home Brian filled me in on it all, and guess what one of the topics was? Yes! Biscuits! But the show was not just on any kind of biscuit… it was about Southern Biscuits to be exact. Brian went on to explain how they discussed the type of flour they use is considered a winter wheat. This means that the wheat is harvested in the winter time and milled resulting in sweeter flavored wheat. He also told me that in a traditional southern biscuit they combine their flour, cut in their fat, and just pat the dough down. Only to fold the dough onto itself, and pat it down again; then they cut their biscuits out. He said there was no leavener needed?!?
I honestly could not believe what Brian was telling me. Of course I went to the web site and read it for myself. Yes, they didn’t use a leavener. I was talking about this at work when my co-worker told me that she watched Alton Brown do a show on his grandmother’s biscuits. She said that in the episode he said he tried absolutely everything to get his biscuits like hers, but it was a fail. Then he came to the realization that his grandmother has arthritis. Her touch and handle on her biscuit was much more delicate and gentile then his own. Finally his biscuits turned out well, and patting the dough down made complete sense.
After a few tries, I was making better biscuits myself. Yay for me (and Brian)! It made me think about a recipe I tried quite a few times that never followed though the way I had hoped. They were made with cream cheese; and I was always hoping for these flakey, tangy, flavorful biscuits. Instead, try after try resulted in a biscuits that were flavorful but a bit dense and in no way flaky enough for my standards! I retrieved that recipe and went to work on it being as gentle as I could. Patted it down, folded it up, and patted it down again. What was the outcome you might want to know? The biscuits were light, flakey, and tender, with a slight cream cheese tang. I am so happy that my quest after all this time has finally resulted in something so great. You will have to try it and see for yourself.
Cream Cheese Bisuits and Green Onion (make 10 – 12)
3 cups of cake flour
2 tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp of baking soda
1 ½ tsp of kosher salt
1 tbsp of sugar
1 heaping cup of green onion, chopped very small
4 oz of butter, cold and cut up small
4 oz of cream cheese, cold and cut up small
½ cup of buttermilk
¾ cup of heavy cream
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, sugar, and chives in a bowl. Mix it well then add to it your butter and cream cheese. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or two knives cut the butter and cream cheese into your flour mixture. You want to break them down into the size no bigger than a pea. Be sure you do not smear the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture.
Next, with a fork gently pour in your buttermilk and cream and stir until all of mixture is damp and moistened. Do not break down your butter and cream cheese lumps in this process. Sprinkle your work space liberally with flour and remove the biscuit batter from your bowl. With floured hands pat your dough gently into anything closely resembling a rectangle in form.
Then, using a bench scraper; lift your dough to fold it into threes upon itself. With floured hands, pat down the dough gently again into a rectangular shape again. Using your bench scraper trim your edges and cut the dough into 10 – 12 squares.
Finally, on a parchment lined baking sheet place your biscuits spacing them about one inch and a half apart from one another. Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes; until your biscuits are golden on the edges and firm in the center. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Can be stored at room temperature wrapped in foil for up to 2 days.