I love when Sean sends me recipes. It’s like getting little love notes–it warms me right to the core. This one came in an email from him on a Wednesday afternoon. No explanation. Just a link to cheddar jalapeño biscuits from Simply Recipes.
Fate seemed to be hard at work because we got a big bag of chiles from my parents’ garden just a few days later. Their fresno chiles have been especially good this year, so I opted to use those instead of jalapeños. Fresnos have a nice combination of heat and bright, peppery crunch–I like actually getting a hint of pepper flavor in addition to feeling the heat. I also cut back a little on the sugar in this recipe because I tend to lean more savory.
Cheddar fresno biscuits are delicious on their own, which is dangerous if you don’t give them away. All weekend, I kept tearing off hunks and popping them in my mouth whenever I passed by the kitchen. (They kind of taste like pimento cheese. Mmmmm.) But they are also really good sliced in half horizontally and topped with fried eggs. Add a couple pan-fried tomato slices with torn basil and you have a heavenly, savory brunch.
Cheddar and fresno chile biscuits
1 1/3 cups AP flour
1/4 cup fine milled cornmeal or polenta
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh fresno or jalapeño pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
Method: Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, salt, sugar, cayenne, and baking powder. Stir in 5 ounces of the grated cheddar cheese and the minced fresnos.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the cream into the well and gently bring together the ingredients with your hands. If you need to add a bit more cream then do so a tiny trickle at a time. All you want is for the ingredients to get wet enough so the dough is sticky and clumpy.
Turn the dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead just a few times–maybe three or four pushes until it just comes together. Pat it down into a 3/4-inch-thick cylinder.
With a lightly floured biscuit cutter or skinny drinking glass, cut out round biscuits and place them 1 to 2 inches apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat. Shape any leftover dough back together and cut additional biscuits as needed (work the dough as little as possible when reshaping). You should end up with 10 to 12 biscuits. Top each biscuit with a little more cheese.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned and the cheese is melted.