Food + Travel Writing

Travel and food writing by Christina Crisostomo. New York/Toronto-based.

Recipe: Ina Garten's Cheddar Biscuits

I did not grow up eating biscuits (unless you count Popeye's biscuits, which believe it or not were available to me growing up in Seoul, South Korea in the '90s. I'm not sure they do count, but as a kid, I thought they were the best.)

I did, however, grow up eating Ina Garten, as Barefoot Contessa Family Style is one of approximately three cookbooks my mom has faithfully relied on throughout the years. While I can't claim to be a biscuit expert, I too have faith in Ina—and her recipes have very rarely steered me wrong.

That's why I knew her recipe would be my go-to when I was looking up biscuits to go with my sweet potato chili. These are not your typical Southern biscuit, but instead almost more like a rich, flaky, cheesy pastry—and would probably make an incredible breakfast sandwich. They're pleasantly simple to make, good for anyone daunted by dough. As a plus, the finished biscuits freeze well, allowing you to indulge in your new cheddar biscuit habit at any time.

Cheddar Biscuits (via Ina Garten)
Yields 8 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1 cold egg
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar, tossed in a bowl with a small handful of flour, plus more for sprinkling
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water or milk)
Flaky sea salt, to finish (optional)

Sheet pan, lined with parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low using the paddle attachment and add the cold butter, mixing until the butter forms pea-sized clumps.
3. While flour and butter are mixing, combine buttermilk and egg in a small cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, add the buttermilk quickly and mix only until moistened, then add the cheese to the dough and mix only until roughly combined. The world will not end if you overmix (as I often do) but try to restrain yourself.
4. Flour your work surface and knead the dough lightly about 6 times. Roll dough out to an approximate 10x5 in. rectangle.
5. Cut dough in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, then cut across into quarters to form 8 rough rectangles.
6. Transfer to prepared sheet pan. Brush biscuit tops with egg wash and sprinkle with salt and/or more cheese as desired.
7. Bake in oven for 20-25 min. until tops are browned and biscuits are cooked through (I tested with a toothpick.)
8. Serve right away. The biscuits are fine cooled to room temp, but they’re better hot. To freeze, I wrapped mine in plastic wrap, foil, and then stuck them in a freezer bag. I promise they are just as good—if not actually better—toasted from frozen.