So, if you’ve been cooking along this week and made the Baked Onion Rings from Sally’s Baking Addiction, you might have almost 2 cups of onion-infused buttermilk sitting in your fridge right now. It seems to a shame to let that go to waste, when instead it could go into something delicious like these savory Pull-Apart Cheese Biscuits.
If you don’t have the onion-flavored buttermilk (created by soaking onion rings in the buttermilk for several hours or overnight), you can of course use regular buttermilk; biscuits are delicious no matter what. But the onion flavor does push these over the top. In addition to grated cheddar, I also chopped up some fresh herbs and mixed them in with the cheese. Any combo you like will work; I just used up what was in my fridge, about 1/4 cup total of parsley & dill. Basil, sage, thyme, and rosemary would also be great options.
Now, I don’t know if I fell asleep in the middle of measuring flour, or if onion lends some kind of magical super-liquidy properties to buttermilk or what, but my dough was much, much stickier than his. So sticky that there was no question of kneading it. A similar recipe from King Arthur Flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/baking-powder-biscuits-recipe) calls for 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of liquid, as opposed to 2 3/4 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk in this one. I recommend starting with 3 cups of flour off the bat, then adding just 1 cup of the buttermilk and seeing how it looks before adding more. Go by the photo rather than the numbers; if the dough is not stiff enough to knead, don’t be afraid to add more flour. I usually add flour so gingerly when baking, because it’s easy to go over the line and end up with dense, too-stiff dough, but in this case it’s less of a concern.
Because I had to add flour so many times before folding in the cheese, I ended up overworking the dough a bit. So, I did not get the flaky texture you hope to see in biscuits. (Quick crash course in flakiness: when you put your biscuits in the oven, you want them to have small pieces of unmelted butter intact, distributed throughout the dough. As these melt in the oven, the water in them will boil off, leaving little pockets of air, which separate the dough around them into layers.) If you mess with the dough too much before baking, all the butter gets worked in and/or melted, and your biscuits are a little denser, as these were.
The good news is that I didn’t care at all, because they were totally amazeballs delicious. (I don’t use the word “amazeballs” much in ordinary life, but I try not to swear on this blog, and this is what came up instead.) Adding to the texture weirdness was the fact that, because I *may have* added a little more cheese than was called for, the oils bubbled out and basically deep-fried the outer half inch of each muffin. Again: zero complaints. The centers were still tender, full of rich buttermilk and very noticeable onion flavor, and the outer edges were a little crisp, and tasted kind of like your favorite fried food from the state fair.
So, while I think any culinary school instructor would label these a fail, I recommend them 100%. You can probably achieve a more chef-approved texture by simply adjusting the flour-to-liquid ratio. But even if you totally mess it up, the flavors are going to carry it anyway. I usually save baked goods in the freezer, but I stuck these in the fridge because I knew they weren’t going to stick around for very long.
Deliciousness Score: 7/10
Easiness Score: 5/10