Cheddar and Smoked Paprika Biscuits

I don’t mean to brag but…I read a book for fun last week.  A whole book.  That had nothing to do with school.  Cover to cover (first page to last page, as it was on iBooks).

Last weekend, I went to Newport, RI, for a wedding (gorgeous, obvi).  Then I unpacked my suitcase within 3 days of returning.  Whaaaaaaaat who am I???

I made and went to an optometrist appointment this week.  You know, because I haven’t been able to see so good for the past 9 months or so, and I figured it was time to go and get a new contacts prescription.

Today I cleaned out the fridge.  Like, threw a bunch of stuff away then actually CLEAN-cleaned the shelves.  Except for one spot on the bottom shelf that I can’t get, but we don’t need to worry about that.  There were a bunch of frozen bananas and frozen rando fruit in the freezer.  So then I made banana bread and jam.

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(Quality of the jam is still TBD, as it’s cooking right now.  It was truly a random collection of fruit.)

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I did all of these normal human things because I was home…during the week…with nothing to study for.  Because barring catastrophe, I finished all the exams.  It still may be too early to tell, but I think I like this lifestyle.  And I think I get to keep living this lifestyle until May-ish, maybe minus a month spent in the pediatric ICU.

Who knows what I could accomplish!  I could continue to read books!  I could clean my room!  I could do laundry more often than once a month!  The possibilities are staggering.

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For sure though, I’ll try to spend a good portion of that time making biscuits.  Never too many biscuits.  Always more combinations of flavors to be tried, interspersed with a batch of good ol’ buttermilk biscuits.  (I leave this job to the boy because he’s better at it than me.  Also pie crusts, but shhhhhhhhh.  I’m supposed to wear the baking pants.)

I used one of Martha Stewart’s buttermilk biscuit recipes and mixed in some white cheddar and my absolute, 100%, all-time (slash for now) favorite spice: smoked paprika.  It’s how I get to taste smoky barbecue-ish things while maintaining my vegetarian slash really pescatarian life.  They are perfect with fried eggs (as are most things).  They’d probs work with scrambled eggs too if that’s your style.  I can’t wait for fall to make them with a batch of chili.  And if I ate bacon, I would defs make a biscuit blt with them.

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Now it’s up to you.  Go forth and make biscuits!  And tell me some more normal human things I can fill my time with!

Cheddar and Smoked Paprika Biscuits

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TBS plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup (=2 sticks unsalted butter), cut into small pieces and frozen
6 oz. (about 1 cup) white cheddar, grated
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk, cold, plus extra for brushing biscuits

1. Preheat oven to 375F with a rack in the middle position.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and smoked paprika.  Pulse a few times until combined.  Add the butter and pulse for 1 second, a total of 8 times, until the mixture is coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps.  (If mixing by hand, just whisk together the dry ingredients, then cut in the cold butter with forks or a pastry blender.)
3. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a large bowl.  Stir in the cheese.  Gently stir in the buttermilk with a fork, making sure to get the dry bits at the bottom of the bowl.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I use a piece of parchment paper).  Flour your fingers, then gently press the dough into a square, 1-inch thick.  Using a very sharp knife, cut the square into 12-16 biscuits.  Brush the tops with buttermilk, then sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika.  (You can also use a biscuit cutter, but I like cutting them with a knife to avoid re-rolling.  Dough always gets tougher with re-rolling!)
5. Place the biscuits on the prepared pan, about 1 1/2 inch apart.  If necessary, use 2 baking sheets or place the remaining biscuits on a plate in the fridge until the 1st batch is done.
6. Bake the biscuits for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden.  Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Biscuits can stored in an airtight container for a day or wrapped well in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

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Thanks for reading, happy baking!


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