My friend Garrett was over the other day, and made for me these fabulous cheddar jalapeño biscuits. I’ve since made them several times and each time they disappear within minutes. They are surprisingly light in texture and crumb, given the amount of cheese and cream. The secret ingredient? A quarter cup of cornmeal or polenta added to the flour. Just that amount lends a slight crunch to the biscuit, without making it gritty. The cornmeal of course works beautifully with the jalapeños and cheddar cheese. Garrett tops the biscuits with extra grated cheddar, giving them an even more cheesy edge. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, an afternoon snack, or served alongside a hot bowl of chili.
Taste the jalapeño. If too mild, include the seeds, if hot, use just the flesh, not the seeds. Adjust the amount to taste. Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese can also be substituted for the cheddar.
- 1 1/3 cups (175g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (45g) polenta or fine milled corn meal
- 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups packed, 170g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (1 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons diced fresh jalapeños (more or less to taste)
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream (200ml), plus extra for brushing
1 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, salt, sugar, cayenne, and baking powder. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the grated cheddar cheese and the diced jalapeños.
2 Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the cream into the center of the well and your (clean) hands to gently bring together the ingredients. If you need to add a bit more cream then do so a tiny trickle at a time. You just want everything to get wet enough so that the dough will be sticky and clumpy.
3 Turn the dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough just a few times - maybe only three or four pushes. You just want it to come together. (Over-kneading will result in firmer, denser biscuits.)
4 Form the dough into a disc about 3/4-inch to an inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter (or a small juice glass) to cut round biscuit shapes out of the disk. Combine the leftover dough and keep forming small round biscuit shapes until the dough is used up.
5 Place on a Silpat-lined or parchment lined baking sheet, with at least an inch or two between the biscuits. Brush the tops of the biscuits with a little more cream. Top the biscuits with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese.
6 Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 11-12 minutes or until golden and the cheese is nicely melted.