Cheddar biscuits are small, cake-like pieces of baked dough that have a soft and creamy interior and a baked, crumbly exterior. They resemble normal biscuits in nearly every way except that cheddar cheese has been incorporated into the dough and cooked inside the cheddar biscuits until the cheese melts and becomes baked into the crumb. The added flavor of the cheese makes cheddar biscuits more resilient and able to stand up to ingredients that are not usually added to biscuit dough, such as chipotle chilies or onions. The finished biscuits can be served alongside nearly any meal that would complement their rich, cheesy and occasionally dense character.
The distinctive ingredient in basic cheddar biscuits is the cheese itself. There are a variety of types of cheddar cheese, some of which are not fully suitable for baking into a biscuit. Basic cheddar, which is not aged as long as some others and usually has a slightly soft consistency with a tendency to create small crumbles, is a good choice because it will melt into the dough and add a pleasant cheese flavor. These types of cheddar usually come in mild and sharp varieties, with the sharp having more of tang to its taste.
More specialized forms of cheddar cheese can be used, but they might create cheddar biscuits that have large chunks of cheddar in the crumb or hard areas where the cheese has dried back into a solid form. Aged, hard cheddars generally perform in this manner when baked. Extra sharp cheddar cheese can be used, but certain artisanal types might actually be too hard to use for baking and could separate if not shredded finely.
Cheddar biscuits are usually formed from standard dough ingredients that include flour, baking soda, baking powder, butter and eggs. Some recipes use shortening instead of butter for a softer texture, or replace some of the butter with buttermilk. Gluten-free biscuits can be made from tapioca starch, rice flour and xanthan gum.
Additional ingredients can be added to the cheddar biscuits to complement the cheese flavor. These can include finely diced onions, fresh chives, garlic and chili peppers. Chipotle chilies, bacon or even other cheeses such as Parmesan or Asiago can be worked into the dough to create a biscuit with a robust taste.
Most cheddar biscuits are baked in an oven until they have finished cooking, the tops are golden brown and the insides are moist and soft. They also can be used to top other dishes, such as pot pies, in which the biscuits can bake directly on top of the food and form a crust. The finished biscuits can be served as a side dish or opened and used like a roll to hold anything from meat or chili to more cheese.