Jalapeno cheddar biscuits may not be the prettiest biscuits you’ve ever seen, but they might be the tastiest. They are super soft and explode with flavor.
They go perfectly with the bold flavors of Southern or Southwestern fare.
Use High-Quality Cornmeal
Cornmeal is an ingredient that I feel should be bought based on quality more than price.
Cheap cornmeal has a sour flavor and very little taste of corn in it. The high-speed milling process of cheap cornmeal removes a lot of the corn kernel and generates a lot of heat from friction that destroys the flavor.
On the other hand, stone-ground cornmeal is ground more slowly under a stone wheel that helps keep the corn cooler throughout the process. This slower process helps preserve the corn in its more natural taste.
Buying your cornmeal as fresh as possible is also important.
Chopping Your Jalapenos
To keep the texture of your jalapeno cheddar biscuits in balance, the key is to dice the jalapenos as small as you can. If you don’t, they can add an odd texture to the biscuits. You want the jalapeno flavor, not so much the jalapeno texture.
To do this, remove the stems from your jalapenos, then cut them in half longways and remove the seeds and white veins. Next, cut the jalapeno halves longways into narrow matchsticks.
Now, bunch up the matchsticks and cut them into a very fine dice.
Mixing Your Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit Dough
The key to making a good biscuit is to use very cold butter, and to not overmix the dough.
You don’t want your butter to melt before you put your biscuits in the oven. You also don’t want it worked into the flour so much that it becomes a smooth dough. The point is that if your butter is unmelted and only broken down to the size of small pebbles in the biscuits, it’ll melt in the oven, leaving moist, buttery pockets.
For this recipe, you’ll start with very cold butter that has been diced into a 1/2-inch dice, along with some shredded cheddar and your finely diced jalapenos.
Add them to your thoroughly whisked dry ingredients, then cut them in with a pastry cutter.
The pastry cutter will help keep you from heating up the dough with your hands.
Once the mixture is pebbly, add your cold buttermilk, and mix with a wooden spoon. You only want to get the ingredients wet, not mixed into a smooth dough.
Once you’ve got it mixed together, dump your biscuit dough out onto a well-floured surface.
Quickly push it together to form a ball. Smash it down somewhat with your hands, then finish rolling it into a 3/4-inch disk with a floured rolling pin.
Cut out your biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, then place in a buttered pie tin, and they’re ready to bake. Remember, when cutting your biscuits, just press straight down. Don’t turn the biscuit cutter. Twisting and turning it will pinch the edges of your biscuits together and make them taste denser.
Practice will help you speed up the process from cold ingredients to the oven. It won’t take long, and you’ll be able to whip out these fantastic biscuits in just a few minutes.
Just remember, the key to making amazing biscuits is cold butter and to not overmix the dough.
Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a pie tin with butter or lard.
- Thoroughly whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together (it's best to whisk your dry ingredients with a wire whisk). Add the butter, jalapenos, and cheese and cut in with a pastry cutter until it has a pebbly texture. Do not overwork it.
- Add the buttermilk, stirring with a spoon until everything is moistened, but not overworked.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press into a ball, then roll out to about 3/4-inch think with your rolling pin. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits. Place in the pie tin where they are barely touching, or there is a little space in-between, but not smashed together.
- Bake on the center rack for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown on top. If you want the tops lightly browned, turn your broiler on high for the last 3-4 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and brush immediately with melted butter. Let rest for 10 minutes before enjoying.