Cheese Biscuits

Friday, 30 December 2011





Yes, I know they look like scones. But these are American biscuits. 
American biscuits are made by rubbing fat into a mixture flour and baking powder, then adding milk or buttermilk to form a dough. they are cut into rounds and baked hot and quick. 
Sound like scones to me.

Yet, I have seen American scone recipes, they seem richer and more complicated than ours and always seem to be cut into triangles or wedges. Triangles were once traditional here, economical too as you don't waste any dough by cutting a round into farls, but to most Brits a scone is plain, round, and about 2-3 inches in diameter. Sometimes we add dried fruit to them and sometimes we add grated cheese.

These cheese biscuits are from the wonderful cookery blog Alexandra's Kitchen.
They were very easy to make, just like scones really. The measurements were a bit strange; 3 and a half cups of flour minus 1 teaspoon, and 9 tablespoons of butter plus 1 teaspoon. The results were very good though.

Here's the recipe as I made it Britished-up for you 

Big Cheese Scones

makes 10-12

1 lb 3 oz (540g) plain flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
4½ oz (125g) salted butter cut into chunks 
2 big handfuls of grated cheddar
2 x 10 fl oz (284ml) cartons of buttermilk (I would think plain yogurt would work just as well)
1 beaten egg

Put the first three ingredients in a bowl and chill for half an hour in the fridge. While that's happening take the butter out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. I'm not sure how much difference doing this made to the finished scones but I did it anyway.

Next combine the butter and cheese with the dry ingredients.
The recipe requires you to use a stand-mixer with a paddle to do this. I don't have one so I used a hand mixer to get the lumps of butter as small as large peas. I ended up finishing the job with my fingers. I think the idea is to avoid handling the mixture too much with warm hands.

Next add the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
Pat the dough out about an inch thick on a floured surface and cut out rounds using a 3 inch cutter. Do not twist the cutter as this prevents them scones from rising well.
Place the rounds of dough on two lined/greased baking trays.
Brush with beaten egg. Don't skip this step as it does make the finished scones look beautiful.
Bake at 200ºc/180ºc fan oven for 20 mins swapping the trays round after 10 mins.

Eat warm with soup and stews or use for sandwiches.


20 comments:

  1. Our biscuits are pretty much like the u.k. scones but are usually eaten along side a meal or put on top of chicken stew like dumplings and they are not usually sweet like scones.
    Alexandra s kitchen is wonderful, her granola is the best I have ever made; I am going to try it with fresh coconut curls next time; her Christmas rum balls took about four minutes to make and were delicious.

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  2. I'm glad you "britished" up the quantities. I just don't understand tablespoons of marg : )

    Being from Ulster, I make scones a lot and my family firmly believe that there is no better treat than scones hot from the oven with home made jam.

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  3. Yum!!! Do these ever look wonderful! I would like them to appear on my breakfast plate!!! Happy New Year to you all!

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  4. Lizzie, thanks for that info. A plain British scone doesn't usually contain sugar, or at least not much and you do sometimes see them used as a cobbler topping for a stew here but I suspect we borrowed that idea from you. I shall check out Alexandra's granola recipe.

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  5. Lovely! Actually my mouth is watering and I'm feeling hungry just looking at them (I haven't had lunch yet). I will definitely give these a try :D

    I often fine myself looking at odd quantities in US recipes and wondering if they've already been Americanised from some other weight measurement. I'm sure it happens.

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  6. I think they look delicious. I have made American biscuits too and like you just pretty much think of them as scones. I like cup recipes as I find them really easy. I often make 'biscuits' to serve with soup or a stew, especially the kind called drop biscuits which have a bit more liquid added and you just dollop them on the baking tray instead of rolling out. The only difference that I have found between scones and biscuits is that biscuits often seem to have less baking agent and are seen as more heavy duty than the light and fluffy scone. Having said that if I think a recipe needs more raising agent I just put it in! All from the same stable though I think.

    Cheese scones were always a favourite, even more than the sultana or plain variety served with jam. But they are all rather nice. These biscuits look very light and fluffy.

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  7. Golly, those look really good - just right for the really strong cheddar we've got in the fridge.

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  8. You're making me hungry. And I have no right to be hungry until about February.

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  9. They look really good Sue, especially with the ham salad peeping out.
    Carol xx

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  10. I'm not fond of cheese as it stands but, put it in a recipe and I love it. Your cheesy biscuits look very desirable and I thank you for the introduction to Alexandra.

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  11. Looks like a good, light cheesey cheese scone to me! I once worked with someone whose very formal grandmother insisted that sweet or plain scones were to be made round, but cheese scones had to be square.....

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  12. Anonymous10:13 pm GMT

    Betty Crocker isn't the source I would use for cooking. Try Cook's magazine or Bon Appetit for a more accurate source of American reference. I never make triangles, don't have the time, I prefer to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet for baking.

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  13. My Daddy makes the best biscuits ever! He is 84 years old now and he should really give lessons in biscuit making, he's that good.
    They look a lot like yours, except that they rise higher and are, I would think, a bit fluffier. Not that I am saying yours are bad, mind you, it's just that with the difference in the flours, I find that the flour in England makes fantastic breads, but the flour in the USA makes for fluffier biscuits. But trust me, your biscuits look WAY better than the ones I make! (My Daddy is the expert, not me!)

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  14. Thanks both for your US input -sorry about Betty Crocker, I know there are much better recipes out there, it was the shape I was trying to illustrate. What I need now is an Antipodean perspective on the scone/biscuit question.

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  15. Hi Sue
    Antipodean perspective here. A cookie is a biscuit, and a biscuit is a scone, or if you handle the mixture too much, a stone. According to the bible of N Z cooking, the Edmonds Cookbook, which every child is sent out into the world of independent living with, the scone recipe is almost identical apart from quantity differences. I use buttermilk instead of milk which is in the Edmonds recipe as it gives a lighter scone. And we don't muck around with cutters, ours are square or rectangles. I made Soda bread to accompany soup a few months ago and that tasted just like a scone too. We all have our variations, and isn't life the richer for it.

    All the best for 2012

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  16. Thank you Flossie. I have heard of the Edmonds Cookbook.

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  17. Looks lovely, Sue, and will give it a go but not just yet - still plenty of food around, I'm afraid...Best wishes for a happy new year.

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  18. I have a great recipe from my Scottish grandmother, Cheese and Chive scones! I also serve them as you have done with ham like a posh sarnie!
    Happy Hogmanay, Happy New Year, Bonne année et bonne santé!
    Karen
    XX

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  19. These look like one to try for my husband. I bet he'd love them.
    All the best for 2012!
    Dan
    -x-

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  20. I love following your blogs and have used several of your recipes. The problem I have making fruited scones for my husband is that he recons they are rock cakes rather than scones, he likes the ones from Greggs bakers which are more bready. Have you any suggestions for a recipe that would satisfy him?

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