We all love sweets, but if I want to stay true to my 12 days of Christmas cookies list for this year, I have to add these salty, flaky, savoury biscuits into the series. These biscuits are strong enough in flavour and texture to make them confident sides on the Christmas lunch or dinner table.
These crisp and light biscuits are exactly what they sound like – Southern style, buttery and indulgent. They are not cookies, but they are a lot more than just biscuits as well – with a little gravy and mashed potato, you have yourself a deliciously warming meal for one.
Bacon, Cheddar, herbs, garlic and crushed black pepper meld together, topped with sesame seeds and baked until golden, puffed and crisp on the outside. You cannot substitute the bacon with anything else, however, you could completely leave it out and make Cheddar biscuits instead, which will be just as delicious.
The key to making these biscuits light, airy and fluffy is ensuring that the ingredients are cold and that the dough is chilled once combined as well as once it has been cut into the desired shapes. The biscuits must be baked only after they have rested and chilled. To achieve a lovely golden colour, brush them with cream before baking.
If you want to store these babies, I would advise putting them in the freezer, unbaked, for up to three months and then bake them when desired as mentioned below. They are best served fresh out of the oven.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed black pepper
- ½ cup unsalted butter, grated
- ½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- ¼ cup bacon, diced and pan-fried until crisp
- 1 clove garlic, diced and sautéed in bacon fat
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 tbsp cream, for brushing
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 180°C. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients using a knife.
- Add the grated butter and cheeses (leave a little cheese for the top at the end) and stir (more like coat using a knife).
- Add the bacon, garlic and buttermilk and stir using a knife until almost combined.
- On a floured surface, tip out and mix together until well combined. Cut the dough in half and stack each piece over the other. Repeat 4 times. Cut the stacked dough into biscuit shapes.
- Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer, brush with the cream and top with the reserved cheese and sesame seeds.
- Bake for 15–17 minutes, until the biscuits have risen and turned golden in colour.
- While working the dough, do not overhandle it. You want the butter and cheese to still be visible and not one cohesive ball of dough. It is these bits that make for very light and flaky biscuits.
- The cream wash is very important for colour, and the sesame seeds add a bit of texture to every bite.
- Ensure not to burn the garlic while sautéeing as it will cook further in the oven and you do not want it to impart a bitter taste. Sauté on low heat just until it has softened.
- Monterey Jack cheese can be substituted for the Cheddar. A little Parmesan cheese grated on top also works wonders.
- If you cannot get ahold of buttermilk, use half plain yoghurt and half full-fat milk instead.
For Day 6’s Christmas cornflakes wreath recipe, click here