Sesame-Paprika, herb-cheddar biscuits

I had planned to write this biscuit recipe several days ago. However, I was busy in the kitchen with other baking and cooking projects, plus participating in a Chinese cooking event with a dessert. For a group of passionate cooks, I fried sesame balls to celebrate The Year of the Pig, to honor the Chinese New Year. Of course we ate pork as part of the celebration. In a few days I plan to add the sesame cookie recipe to my blog. Look for it soon. But for now I’m halting my other duties so I can focus on writing up this biscuit recipe along with another main dish recipe which I’ll surprise you with later.

Biscuits are easy to make, take under fifteen minutes to prepare, and about that long to bake. They are a fun thing to do with youngsters, with some parental supervision in the kitchen. Slathered with butter and maybe honey they are delicious additions to any biscuit. Although these biscuits are savory, with a touch of honey or the sweetness of jellies and jams, they easily slide into the sweet category. They truly adapt to whatever you need them for! Naturally they are prefect to enjoy as a bread addition with stews, soups, and nearly any main dish with or without meat or poultry.

What I find exciting about biscuits is the toppings, as well as adding, judiciously of course, what seasonings I wish to lightly taste in the soft center of the biscuit. For the center or the outer crust, I love browsing my shelves and refrigerator to see what foods, spices or condiments, even crushed garlic, would add a loud or gentle bite to the biscuit, or perhaps I’ll keep it simple by not adding anything out of the ordinary. That works too if your main dish is complex enough by itself, so that only a simple biscuit, with or without butter adds enough to round-out a satisfying meal.

INGREDIENTS o

2 cups flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt, divided

6 Tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3/4 -1 cup cheddar cheese

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. paprika

3 tablespoons of white sesame seeds

1/4 cup melted butter (optional)

1 egg mixed well with 1 teaspoon water

INSTRUCTION

1 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and one half teaspoon of salt. Set the oven at 425 degrees. If you do not have buttermilk, at this point, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of milk and let this mixture, than its buttermilk, sit on your counter for five to ten minutes as it congeals. Prepare two cookie sheets with silicone covers or have parchment paper ready to cover the sheets.

2 To the bowl add the chilled butter, and, with a pastry cutter work the butter into to the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt mixture. You want pea size or large clumps, Don’t overwork the mixture. Fold in the cheddar cheese and blend that with the other ingredients for about one minute.

3 This next step is important. Add the buttermilk in two or three pouring’s, while stirring, only until the ingredients are incorporated, remembering to not overwork the dough which will make the biscuits tough. Once the dough just barely comes together, turn it out on a lightly floured cutting board. Do a minimal amount of kneading, maybe just folding the dough over just once or twice.

4 Roll out the dough or press it together gently as you form an eight to twelve inch almost -square-flattish mound, about 3/4 to one inch thick. Again, don’t handle the dough too much. Use a bit of flour as needed if the dough sticks to your hands a lot.

5 With a two to two and one half inch diameter cookie/biscuit cutter, press down to make the biscuits, then place them carefully on the cookie sheets leaving about one to two inches between each biscuit.

6 Brush the top of each biscuit with the egg mixture, Mix the remaining salt, the paprika and sesame seeds together. Sprinkle a small amount of the mixture atop each biscuit, perhaps adding a bit more of one of the toppings than the other, whatever is to your liking.

7 Bake about 10-15 minutes until the top of the biscuits turn a faint pale golden. Once out of the oven, check the bottom of one biscuit. The coloring should be a bit darker there. Let them cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, than remove to a cooling rack. Enjoy

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