Cornmeal Cheddar Chipotle Biscuits

  • Cornmeal Cheddar Chipotle BiscuitsHo-ly cow, fellow biscuit lover- these biscuits are the real deal: cheezy and savory with just a touch spicy chipotle heat to keep them honest.

    (It’s questionable to me why I still crave cheese biscuits at all, in light of the many part-time shifts I spent toiling in the kitchen at Red Lobster in the 90s… baking their “Cheddar Bay Biscuits”, slathering them with their “Liquid Buttery Sauce”.  People ate those freaking biscuits up like they were going out of style.  I could barely keep up with the biscuit-binging demands of the typical Red Lobster customer.  I am surprised that talking about cheese biscuits doesn’t give me a nervous tick.)

    I am happy to report that carefully portioned baskets of free Cheddar Bay Biscuits have gone out of style, especially when compared to this keeper of a recipe.  I don’t want to bite the hand that fed me all those years (I, too, binged on many a biscuit at Red Lobster in those days), but nothing compares to a biscuit made with real butter.  And cornmeal, scallions, and chipotle.  And did I mention the cheddar that crisps up on the surface of the biscuit?  Say no more.

    Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe… Makes 10 biscuits.

     1 tablespoon butter

    3/4 cup chopped green onions (1 whole bunch)

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

    2 tablespoons sugar

    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

    1 1/2 cups (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for sprinkling over tops of biscuits before baking)

    1 lightly beaten egg

    3/4 cup buttermilk (approximately)

    2 1/2 tablespoons finely minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce


    1 lightly beaten egg

    1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (or lighter cream/milk)

    1/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

    1. Preheat oven to 425°.
    2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan and sautee green onions over medium heat for 2 minutes, until slightly softened.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
    3. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a food processor, and mix until blended.  Add very cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles course crumbs, with the largest chunks the size of peas.  Add cheese to processor and pulse 2 -3 times (until just incorporated- be careful not to mulch the cheese up).  Pour flour mixture into a large bowl.
    4. Lightly beat an egg in a measuring cup, and add enough buttermilk to total 1 cup of liquid.  Pour into center of flour mixture, and stir with a spoon to gently combine.
    5. Sprinkle green onion and chipotles evenly across surface of dough and finish stirring in until wet mixture is evenly incorporated.
    6. Place dough onto a well floured surface, knead once or twice, and flatten into a 3/4-inch thich slab.  Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
    7. Combine lightly beaten egg with heavy cream, and brush over tops of biscuits.  Sprinkle reserved shredded cheddar over tops of biscuits, and bake for 18 minutes (until tester comes out clean).  Cool on rack until you eat without burning your hands or mouth.  Good luck.


    • Use cold cold cold butter and buttermilk!  Biscuits need to be as cold as possible before being put into the oven, or they won’t bake as well and rise as much as you want them to.  I freeze the butter after cutting it into cubes while I’m prepping the rest of the ingredients.  (Plop the baking sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking if you can afford the time.)
    • Can’t take the heat?  Skip the chipotle peppers, or reduce the amount.  (Sprinkle smoked paprika in the food processor along with the flour to add a bit of smoky flavor.)
    • No buttermilk?  Use just under 3/4 cup regular milk mixed with about a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice mixed in… let thicken a bit, then use like buttermilk.  (Not a perfect substitution but better than using plain milk in this recipe.)
    • Be careful not to overmix.  You don’t want tough biscuit bullets… so mix just to the point where the flour mixture is incorporated.  Re-roll your scraps in a delicate way, too- no smooshing together the remainder and patting out.  Sometimes I just bake the scraps on a separate sheet in their little pieces, instead of manhandling them again.  (Just take the cute little scraps out of the oven after half the time.)
    • Glutton for cheese?  Cheese will be the end of me, too.  So here’s the sick plan:  stuff a piece of cheese inside each biscuit before baking (trust me, you’ll find a way to do this, just mash it in and carefully patch up the top).  I have been known to put substantial cheese chunks inside of biscuits… it’s nuts, but if you like cheese, too, you understand.  Imagine the cheezy surprise for those not expecting it.
    • Serving ideas… other than demolishing these on their own (with a pat of extra butter- why not?), serve with chili, a spicy soup, mac & cheese, or cut open and put a slab of cheese and lettuce inside for a sandwich of sorts.  Hmm- pepper jack would go really well in this case.
    • Eat ’em up.  Biscuits don’t keep well after a day or so, so either eat them right away or freeze them and thaw on the spot to eat.  (Why would these hang around past a day anyway?  Really- it’s a small batch, so 10 shouldn’t last long.  And if they do last long, then I don’t know what to say to you.)

    Enjoy, biscuit lover!

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    March 14th, 2012 | More Sweets Please | No Comments | Tags:

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