Cheryl Day's Scallion and Cheddar Cathead Biscuits are pillowy-soft and savory

Cheryl Day
Treasury of Southern Baking
"Cheryl Day's Treasury of Southern Baking" includes several recipes for classic Southern biscuits. (Courtesy of Artisan Books)

About the recipe

Southerners are known to give their recipes colorful names. This one is so called because the extra-large drop biscuits are as big as a cat’s head.

They are crisp and golden on the outside, soft and pillowy inside, and filled with scallions and cheddar cheese and just the right amount of black pepper. They are quick to fix and simple to make—you don’t even have to roll out the dough.

Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

Makes about 12 biscuits

Ingredients

1½ cups (188 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

1½ cups (188 g) cake flour (not self-rising)

¼ teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (26 g) baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

½ pound (2 sticks/227 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (1.5 cm) cubes

½ cup (30 g) chopped scallions

2 cups (8 ounces/227 g) grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ to 2 cups (355 to 473 ml) buttermilk

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of fine sea salt, for egg wash

Special equipment

3-ounce (89 ml) ice cream scoop

Instructions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, the sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk until completely blended. Add the butter cubes and toss to coat. Working quickly, cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or pinch it with your fingertips, smearing it into the flour. You should have various-sized pieces of butter ranging from coarse sandy patches to flat shaggy pieces to pea-sized chunks, with some larger bits as well. Add the scallions, cheese, and black pepper, tossing to mix well.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in 1½ cups (355 ml) of the buttermilk, and gently mix with one hand or a rubber spatula until the mixture is crumbly but starting to come together into a shaggy mass. If the dough still looks too dry during this process, add up to ½ cup (118 ml) more buttermilk. The dough should be moist and slightly sticky.

Finish mixing the dough in the bowl, turning the dough onto itself a few times until it comes together into a mass. (Remember, biscuit making is all about touch, so work gently but with purpose.) Gently pat down the dough until it resembles a loaf of bread. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.

Using a 3-ounce (89 ml) ice cream scoop, scoop big mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, arranging them about 1 inch (3 cm) apart so that the biscuits have room to puff up and rise. With lightly floured hands, gently flatten the biscuits.

Lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash. Place the biscuits in the oven and bake, rotating the pan halfway through for even baking, for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot out of the oven or at room temperature.

Honestly, I can’t imagine that you will have any biscuits leftover by the end of the day, but if you do, you can store them in an airtight container overnight. To reheat, place the biscuits on a wire rack in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 5 to 6 minutes. To freeze leftover biscuits, wrap in foil and place in a large ziplock bag. To reheat the biscuits, place the foil-wrapped biscuits in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15 minutes, then carefully open the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.