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Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits - 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #39 Ina Garten

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
the "Gourmet" prompt...
39. Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa is the only White House nuclear policy analyst with a packaged– cake–mix line. And a lot of cookbooks and TV shows. She’s not a countess. Her (defunct) East Hampton fancy food store was named after the Ava Gardner movie.

Feeling the urge to do something "more creative" while working in the Office of Management and Budget in the White House in 1978, Garten and her husband Jeffrey drove to the Hamptons to checko ut a specialty food store that she saw listed for sale in the New York Times.  The next day her "I'll think about it low offer" was accepted...and the rest, as they say, is history.  Thus began her adventure into food.

In '96, she sold Barefoot Contessa (that specialty store) to two employees, built herself an office over the store, and commenced her cookbook writing ventures.  Seven cookbooks and numerous television episodes later, she found what she loved to do.  She also launched a line of baking mixes called Barefoot Contessa Pantry with her business partner, Frank Newbold.  She still lives in East Hampton with Jeffrey.  For more on Ina, check out the Barefoot Contessa website.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
I've always enjoyed Ina's recipes, so the hardest thing this week was deciding what to make.  I was seconds away from making Roasted Shrimp with homemade Thousand Island, but I wound up saving that for something coming up in a couple of weeks.  Which I hope go by quickly, because I crave it!  I have a couple of her books, but I couldn't find them.  Yes, I have just that many cookbooks.  Enough that sometimes I can't find the ones I'm looking for (because I have numerous bookshelves, yet not enough - some books are packed away and I really, really didn't feel like digging through boxes).  Fortunately, Ina has a great online presence, so I still had plenty to choose from.

Seems like I went simple with biscuits.  But honestly? These biscuits are ridiculously good.  Buttery and tender with bursts of cheese.  Ridiculous.
biscuit dough

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
Soft, flaky, tall, and tender, these buttery biscuits are studded with bursts of cheddar cheese.
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Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: bake bread breakfast buttermilk cheese

Ingredients (8 biscuits)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons / 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 cold extra-large egg
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • Aromatic Salt or flaky sea salt, optional
Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Toss the cheese with a tablespoon or so of flour taken from the 2 cups. Set aside.

Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender until you have a coarse meal and the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. Add to mixture and stir until just combined. Add reserved cheese and mix untiljust combined.

Dump out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently about 6 times, but no more than twelve.

Pat dough and gently roll dough out until it about an inch thick. Using lightly floured biscuit cutters, cut eight biscuits from dough and place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet tray.

Beat egg with milk and brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are deeply golden and the biscuits are cooked through.

Good hot, warm, or at room temperature.

If you only have large eggs, simply add a drop or two of the beaten egg you are going to use for the egg wash (before adding the milk) to the beaten egg in the dough mixture.

These are extremely soft, flaky, buttery, tender and delicious. Almost too much so (I have a hard time controlling myself when they're around).

-adapted from Ina Garten
Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
*source: Barefoot Contessa: about Ina