I’m going to make a confession: dough used to intimidate me.
When I’m reading through recipes, aside from the “oh that makes me hungry” twinges, I’m often weighing whether or not I think I can succeed at making a particular recipe. Most of the time I feel pretty confident that an edible item will result, especially when the recipe is a relatively simple combination of good ingredients plus the addition of heat.
No problem. I can add heat. I can turn a knob and push stuff around a skillet. You can too. I know it and you know it.
It’s those other recipes where I start to wonder if I would be stepping outside of my creative comfort zone. You know…
What kind of tool is that? I can’t possibly have one of those.
I have no clue what that ingredient is. (and I’ve conveniently forgotten how to Google)
I do what with the what? That makes absolutely no sense.
Holy moly that list of ingredients is long…pass.
Dough has always been that way for me. As soon as I saw “knead” in a recipe, NEXT. But for some reason I’ve decided that it felt like a good week for a challenge.
Maybe it’s because a couple of weeks ago, I hiked up a mountain. Most of the way. I mean, it was a mountain after all.
It’s possible I’m still riding the warm fuzzies from slalom skiing last weekend. Two skiis? No problem. One? Worth writing (home) about.
Kneading dough really isn’t the monsterous undertaking I’d imagined it to be. There’s no falling flat on your face and inhaling a gallon of Mississippi River water up your nose on your first attempt at dough kneading. At least not in my kitchen.
The neat thing about biscuits is that you can start with your basic little doughy nugget and add what you want. I chose sharp cheddar cheese, chives and jalapenos.
Jalapeno peppers contain a phytochemical called capsaicin (the heat!), which inhibits the growth of some types of cancer cells, helps keep your heart and lungs healthy and even promotes the burning of body fat.
I love spice, but am very aware that many of you are cringing at the thought of zingy jalapeños laced throughout your fluffy, buttery biscuits. I’ll compromise: remove the seeds and (voila!) the jalapeño isn’t milk-chuggingly hot.
Next up: mountain biking! And the possibility that comfort food may be needed afterwards.
Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
adapted from Joy the Baker
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
Toss together the sharp cheddar, jalapeño and chives. Set aside. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling the jalapeño. An inadvertent rub of the nose or eye could become a fiery disaster. Avoid fiery disasters.
Add butter to the flour mixture. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers, breaking the cubes into small bits, until it’s well incorporated and looks like coarse meal.
Toss the cheese mixture into the flour mixture. Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture all at once. Mix it all together with a fork until the mixture looks shaggy. Be sure that all of the flour bits ave soaked up some buttermilk.
Now for the easy part: Dump the dough on your floured surface and knead! Knead away for about 8-10 minutes, preferably with a clean-handed helper to add more flour when your dough sticks. This is real.
Shape the dough into a 1 1/2 inch circle and begin cutting your biscuits into about 2-2 1/2 inch rounds (if you have a biscuit cutter, squares if you use a knife). Gather your scraps and repeat until your dough is all used up.
Place the biscuits on your parchment lined baking sheets and brush remaining buttermilk on top. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden.
Enjoy with some honey, butter or a big glass of milk.