I discovered bacon jam this fall and became an instant convert. I've loved cheddar cheese biscuits since I had my first one at Red Lobster when I was in college. The two together are sheer poetry, and if I wind up having a holiday open house party on New Year's Day, as is my habit, be assured these will be front-and-center on my appetizer list! (They're great for breakfast, too!) - Kayb —Kayb
Test Kitchen Notes
Kayb’s cheddar cheese biscuits with bacon jam are a satisfying blend of salty, smoky and sweet. The simple method to making the bacon jam yields a complex medley of flavors thanks to coffee, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Be sure to spoon off some of the rendered bacon fat since it will collect as the jam cools. Note: Bake biscuits on parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the pan. – Natalie —The Editors
Cheddar cheese biscuits
1 1/2 tablespoons
stick butter, divided
1 1/2 cups
grated sharp cheddar, or cheese(s) of your choice
Preheat oven to 375. Sift all dry ingredients together. Cut one stick butter into tablespoon-sized pats, and cut into dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it looks like coarse crumbs.
Toss with grated cheese (I often use a combo of whatever kinds of firm cheeses I have in my fridge).
Add milk, and stir just enough for dry ingredients to all come together. If dough is too dry and crumbly add a little more milk.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead only two or three times -- enough to incorporate everything. Form into a ball and pat or roll out to about 1 inch thick.
Use a small biscuit cutter -- I find a small tomato paste can, both ends cut out, makes a great cutter for cocktail sized biscuits -- to cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased baking sheet. At this point, if you're making in advance, you can freeze the biscuits on the baking sheet, then remove to a plastic bag. Allow to thaw before baking.
Melt remaining half-stick of butter and brush tops of biscuits. Bake until golden brown, and cool on a rack.
Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces and toss into heavy Dutch oven. Cook over medium high heat, stirring periodically, until starting to crisp.
Dice onion and mince garlic, and add to bacon. If you're concerned about the fat content (It IS bacon, after all), drain off some of the fat first, leaving 3 tablespoons or so. Lower heat to medium and cook until onion starts to brown, about 8 minutes or so.
Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for an hour or two. Stir occasionally, and add water if it gets too thick.
When bacon is very tender, remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes or so. Transfer to food processor -- you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your processor -- and pulse until mixture is the consistency you want.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!