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Cheesy buttermilk drop biscuits can be made in less than 30 minutes
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Cheese, buttermilk and baking powder create a simple from-scratch biscuit few can resist. You might want to double the batch. - photo by Shannon M. Smurthwaite

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Unexpected company for a meal; in a time crunch to whip up dinner; a less-than-appealing menu of leftovers; or the frustration of outdated yeast? In less than 30 minutes you can solve any of these problems with a few pantry basics and refrigerator staples.

Cheesy buttermilk drop-biscuits can accompany an impressive main course or add flair to a simple fare of soup or casserole. Its versatility complements light meals of fruit or a vegetable platter. Another option is to pair these from-scratch biscuits with an egg and sausage breakfast. The ingredients assemble easily in one large bowl, making cleanup quick.

You can get creative with chives, other cheese blends and herbs. I recommend preparing my recipe as written when making for the first time, then following your instincts and family taste preference for future baking.

During the holidays (or, really, anytime) don't let meal planning get thwarted by unexpected surprises.



2¼ cups good bread flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

pepper to taste (just a few shakes), optional

½ cup (1 cube) butter, cold, shaved

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or a blend of choice

1¼-½ cups of fresh buttermilk

In large mixing bowl blend with a fork the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Add in cold, shaved butter. With a pastry blender cut butter into dry ingredients until incorporated, then toss together with shredded cheese. Add in one cup of buttermilk and stir, then add in ¼ cup more. If dough is too dry, slowly add in more buttermilk until it is a slightly sticky, shaggy ball, pulling away from the side of your bowl. If dough becomes too wet, add a small amount of flour.

In a seasoned iron skillet or on a parchment-lined baking pan, spoon drop 7-8 large balls of biscuit dough. Try to keep the amount of each uniform for even cooking.

When baking these for the first time, check your biscuits at 18 minutes. The tops should be light golden and the bottoms should have a lovely crust of cheese and butter. Altitude and oven temperatures vary, so adjust cooking time accordingly.

Bake at 425 for 18-22 minutes.

Shannon M. Smurthwaite is a Southern California native, cookbook author, food columnist and freelance writer. Her blog: She and her husband, Donald, reside in Idaho. Email: