Alex Eats: Cheesy Biscuits

Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

You know how a recipe can be sentimental because you remember the first time you made it or the first time you ate the result? This recipe was one of the very first things I ever made in a professional kitchen, but before I was making it, I was eating the results hot every day out of the oven. While working at Larry Forgione’s An American Place, the biscuits would come out of the convection oven in the back of the kitchen just a few minutes before dinner service.

What is it about the smell of baked goods that turns us into homing pigeons? It was like I could sense they were ready all the way over in the pantry area where I was preparing salads. I would sneak to the back and standing in front of the warmth of the oven, break the biscuit in half and drop a little pat of butter inside.

Recipes are always telling us to allow the biscuits to “rest before baking” and to allow them to “cool before eating.” I’m not very good at following those parts of the recipe. Now, I make them for my daughter, who mischievously swipes one just as they emerge from the oven. She also loves when I use them to make her little sandwiches with ham and slices of tomato or with roasted white mushrooms and garlic.

Cheese Biscuits (recipe based on and inspired by Larry Forgione's recipe)

Makes about 24 biscuits
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour plus some additional for rolling
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
½ cup grated, sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the cream and cheese to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix the dough, taking care that all ingredients are well blended. Turn the biscuit mixture onto a lightly floured flat surface, and with floured hands, pat the biscuit mix down until it is about 1 inch thick. Note: If the outside edges start to show cracks, cup the outer edge with your hands and push the dough toward its own center. Pat the edges so the dough is a 1-inch square. Lightly flour a knife (to avoid sticking as you cut) and slice the biscuits into 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2-inch squares. This way, you won’t make scraps and all will be used. “Reflour” the knife each time you make a cut.

Arrange the biscuits (with some distance between each) on a nonstick baking sheet or one layered with a sheet of parchment.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they start to brown lightly. Remember the biscuits will continue to cook even after they are removed from the oven.

Note: These freeze really well. Freeze raw and bake as you need them. Don’t leave unbaked biscuits in the fridge for more than a few hours.

More biscuit recipes:
Paula's Cream Biscuits
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