Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

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Buttery, flaky biscuits are one of my favorite things to bake. I remember besides Hedgehog’s Yellow Cake, biscuits were something I learned to make when I started baking at the grand old age of 8. I was so proud to make them all by myself! I’d like to think my technique has improved since then; I know not to over-mix the dough and to use a light hand when kneading. It also helps to have a great recipe and I know I can always rely on ones from Ina Garten. These lovely biscuits are flaky and buttery with the pleasing, savory flavor of extra-sharp cheddar ringing through. I made these for David’s Thanksgiving lunch at work, so I doubled the recipe and kneaded half of the biscuit dough at a time. I also cut them into thirds lengthwise, then each third into fifths, making 30 smaller biscuits in all. The recipe below is for 8 large biscuits, or 15 smaller biscuits. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, then stir in the milk and cheese with a wooden spoon, still being careful not to over-mix.

from: Ina Garten
makes: 8 large biscuits, or 15 smaller biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra-large egg
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar (I used Cracker Barrel Extra-Sharp Yellow Cheddar)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water or milk
Maldon sea salt, optional

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Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with a small handful of flour and with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.

Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 10 by 5 inches. If you want to straighten the edges a bit, you can use a pastry scraper to push in the sides.

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With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with a little Maldon salt, if using.

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Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. (If you cut smaller biscuits, they will only take about 18-20 minutes)

Serve hot or warm. They are especially mouthwatering right out of the oven.

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