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Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

I’ve made Bacon Cheddar Biscuits before. But biscuits, especially Bacon Cheddar Biscuits, deserve to be revisited occasionally. That’s because I tend to make biscuits the same way I was taught and I was taught to use lard.

I like lard biscuits. I like lard because it has an almost imperceptible meatiness. I don’t usually tell people I use lard though. Folks can be downright finicky about lard.

Of course these days a lot of people get finicky about gluten too. It’s hard to fib your way through flour when you serve your guests biscuits. Let’s face it biscuits are fairly elemental. The basic ingredients are, flour, fat and liquid. Most folks know this.

My experience with biscuit making tells me that the fat and the liquid are debatable, but the flour is not. In the South it’s common to find soft wheat flour brands like White Lily (often called cake flour). These low-protein flours will generate less gluten. Making a soft crumbly biscuit. Where I come from there’s no controversy or baggage concerning the flour. It must be White Lily.

But what if I’m wrong? What if a good biscuit can be made with butter and all-purpose flour? The whole idea seems a bit scandalous to me. I’ve made all-butter biscuits before and they had a far less satisfying crumb in my opinion. I strongly believe that lard produces a delicate, silken texture that butter just can’t match. So when I saw a recipe for Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Maple Chile Butter in the Los Angeles Times recently. I noted that the recipe was made with butter (that’s fine I guess) and all-purpose flour (that’s not). So I rolled my eyes in superiority and nearly turned the page.

That’s when I noticed that the recipe used the folding method of working the dough. Which means you use your hands, a lot. I was taught to touch the dough as little as possible. It’s how you get a biscuit to crumble just right (Isn’t it? Isn’t it?). But what if your goal isn’t a crumbly biscuit with a silken texture, but a flaky biscuit with multiple layers? Would the flour matter in that case (Would it? Would it?)?

Well let me just say, despite the butter, despite the all-purpose flour, and despite me pawing and patting the dough like a 5‑year old with a mud pie– these biscuits were perfect. They didn’t have the same sort of crumble I’m used to, but they were layered in a way I really liked. I guess these Bacon Cheddar Biscuits taught me that you just never know, until you know.  GREG

Bacon Cheddar Biscuitsmaple

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Maple Chile Butter

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 12Source Slightly adapted from the Los Angeles TimesPublished
Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 16¼ ounce all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounce frozen unsalted butter
  • 1 pound crispy, cooked bacon (chopped into bits)
  • 4 ounce grated Gruyère cheese
  • 6 ounce grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (as egg wash)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 teaspoon arbol chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Use a box grater to gate the frozen butter into the mixture. Then use two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture until a coarse, grainy texture is achieved. Stir the cooked bacon, grated Gruyère and cheddar cheese, slowly add the buttermilk and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is just combined, be careful not to overwork the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and use the flats of your hands to press to a thickness of approximately three-fourths of an inch. Fold the dough into thirds and repeat two more times. Gently press the dough into a rectangle shape measuring 8 inches by 6 inches. Cut the rectangle into 12 (2‑inch) square biscuits.

Carefully transfer the biscuits to a rimmed baking sheet, spacing them an inch or so apart

Place the biscuits on the baking sheet in the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the biscuits from the freezer and brush all exposed sides with egg wash; sprinkle the tops with black pepper. Place the biscuits in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and continue baking until the biscuits are set and golden in color, an additional 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the maple chile butter. In a medium bowl, beat together the room temperature butter, chile powder and maple syrup until the powder and syrup are fully mixed in with the butter. Taste and season as desired with salt. Refrigerate until needed.