I always thought when it came to being in the kitchen, you were either a cook or a baker – never in between – and for most of my life that mentality was pretty accurate. Although in the last couple of years, I’ve actually found baking to be quite therapeutic, and I even feel a heavy sense of accomplishment when a recipe I’ve developed from start to finish is received with rave reviews.
I started with easy, approachable baked goods like quick breads, simple cookies and brownies, and then slowly moved onto the more difficult yeast-based breads and towering layer cakes. It’s still not something I’d self-proclaim being a “master” at, but the more I bake, the more confident I feel, which should be an encouraging push to all you timid, hopeful bakers out there.
Biscuits, I’ve found, tend to be the perfect balance of skill and ease, and are great for even the most novice of bakers. They’re something I always felt comfortable whipping on a whim even when I put myself in the, “I’m only a cook,” corner. I’ve also found biscuits to be the perfect alternative or addition to the standard roll you find graced across pretty much every family table around the holidays.
Here, I took two classic flavors of the holidays – dried cranberries and sage and turned them into a fluffy, buttery biscuit that’s super easy, quick and will seriously impress your guests.
Everyone has their tried-and-true biscuit recipe, and for me the sweet spot is a mixture of butter, for flakiness and flavor, and vegetable shortening for lightness.
First, shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, dried cranberries and plenty of finely chopped sage are tossed together with all-purpose flour, baking powder and plenty of salt. The butter and shortening then get cut into mixture with a fork, or even with your fingers, and once it’s mostly incorporated, buttermilk gets gently stirred in just until it’s combined.
At this point, I quickly roll the dough out, cut the biscuits out with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and then pop them in the freezer to ensure the butter doesn’t melt into the dough.
Which brings me to the cardinal rule of biscuit-making – make sure all your ingredients are cold. The key to getting flaky, tall biscuits, is cold butter and to make sure you still have bits of butter sprinkled throughout your dough. Once the heat of the oven hits the butter, it expands, making your biscuits super light, flaky and perfect!
I like to serve them right out of the oven with salted, whipped butter or honey butter for a little sweetness – either way, these aren’t your average holiday bread…
- 5 Tbls. cold butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tlbs. baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 2 ½ Tbls. finely chopped fresh sage
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 Tlbs. vegetable shortening
- ½ cup + 2 Tbls. cold buttermilk
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a sil-pad.
- Cut cold butter into small cubes, place back in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Add in cheese, sage and cranberries. Toss until combined.
- Add the cubed butter and shortening to the flour mixture. Using your fingers or a fork, quickly cut the butter into the flour until small pieces of both the butter and shortening remain and the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Add the buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together just until combined. (It’s ok if the dough is a little scrapy.) Dump the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead one two times until the dough comes together.
- Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out until it’s about 1–inch thick. Use a 2 ¼ -inch biscuit cutter to form biscuits. Use the scraps to make more biscuits until there is no dough left. Line the biscuits up on prepare pan and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Mix egg and water together in a small bowl. After the biscuits have chilled, brush with egg mixture and bake until golden brown and tall, about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve warm with butter.
Thank you so much to Kroger for sponsoring this post! Be sure to check out more holiday-inspired recipes at Inspired Gatherings!