Savory Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Posted on Feb 27, 2012


I lied. There are no scones.

There. I said it. I promised you Savory Bacon Cheddar Scones. Truth? There are no Savory Bacon Cheddar Scones here. Sorry to be so harsh, but that’s life. But there are BISCUITS. Savory, bacon-y, cheddar-y biscuits. Biscuits. Not scones. Biscuits.

“What’s the difference?” you ask. Well, frankly not much if you look at them on paper. Recipes for both look pretty similar. I could mention many possible differences in texture, fats, flavors, flours or leavening agents. I could go into some long history of the diverging branches of portable breads. Instead, I’m going to philosophize.

For me, it comes down to two things: Usage and Class.
Scones are mostly made for their own sake (which, in my opinion, leads them to have a somewhat inflated opinion of themselves). In showbiz parlance, a starlet.
Biscuits are most often made to be an accompaniment to a meal, or even a workhorse conveyance for a meal. In other words, a magnanimous co-star, generous and collaborative to a fault.
The scone is a pretentious social climber, the biscuit a humble servant.
‘Nuff said.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy a good scone in its proper place, but I’ve been seeing far too much of them lately. They’re everywhere, and frankly they pop up in places where any self respecting scone ought not be. A scone is not a meal, and should not be offered as such (breakfast is the primary offender here).

Wrap it to go, please!

A good biscuit, however, is a great vehicle for a portable breakfast. In this case, the elements of said breakfast have been baked right in. Add a fluffy scrambled egg folded to fit the outline of this utilitarian square-cut biscuit, and you’ve got a marvelous start to your day. (Ok, not every day, since this is a buttery-bacony-cheesy concoction, but once in a while this treat will have you whistling out the door in the morning!) And while we’re at it, most of those scones are oversized monsters, and many of them are barely scones at all, but I digress.

"Yeff, das defunly a bis-it."

The question remains, why did I think I had a scone on my hands in the first place? Well, in my early experiments, the bacon and cheese, plus over-use of my food processor, created a dense (but tasty) morsel that I thought belonged in the scone family. But, I longed for a more delicate texture, one that supported the bacon in cheesy lofts of tender fluffiness. So I made some changes: a little more baking soda, a tiny bit of baking soda (to offset the acid in the buttermilk) and finally, I dispensed with the food processor (mostly, anyway). The result was a tender/flaky support for the savory players here, the smoky bacon and sharp cheddar! No scone would so graciously step aside and let their co-stars take center stage. As I bit into it, I turned to Orville and said, “That’s not a scone. That’s a biscuit.” Mumbling through a mouthful of savory goodness, he said, “Yeff, das defunly a bis-it.” And so I give you my Savory Bacon Cheddar Biscuit!

So what took so long, you ask? After all, I promised you these scones biscuits by Thursday or Friday at the latest. Well, I don’t believe in excuses, I believe in taking responsibility, so I won’t bore you with all the responsibility I failed to take as I took a left turn into camera hell. What I will say is that the food porn at My Tiny Kitchen has taken a decidedly giant leap upward with the addition of a new member to the My Tiny Kitchen pretty-shiny-things family, an Olympus E-PM1 (more on that in a future Tiny Kitchen Tip). Suffice to say that after reading several dozen reviews, adopting (provisionally), testing and returning three cameras (well, I returned two), I finally fell in love with the PEN Mini. I hope to coax mouthwatering results from it for your #foodpornconsumption.


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Savory Bacon & Cheddar Biscuits

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Servings: 8 servings | Difficulty: Easy


½ pound smoked bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for the work surface)
1 cup cake flour
(if using a southern flour like Lily or Martha White, just use it as is-no need to mix)
1 tbsp +1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup buttermilk (may need a couple tablespoons more)
2 tbsp softened, salted butter for finishing.

One of my favorite sights in the world!

In a frying pan, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crispy, about 12-15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Allow to cool completely – I just pop the bacon in the freezer for 10 minutes while I get the dough ready!

In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and garlic powder to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is cut into pea sized pieces, about three 1-second pulses. Transfer the flour mixture into a large bowl (You can just cut the butter in by hand, but I like the food processor because the butter is cut in super fast and so stays colder.)

All in all, a pretty wet dough

Add the bacon and cheese and toss to combine. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Fold the mixture with a spatula until the dough comes together in a sticky clump. If it is too dry and/or does not completely come together, add one to three tablespoons buttermilk and fold just until it becomes a wet clump.

Square-ish cut biscuits adds to their utilitarian nature (easier to make a sandwich!)

Turn the wet dough out onto a floured surface. Use just enough flour to make it workable. Pat the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Use a bench scraper or spatula to fold the dough in half and pat out into a ½ inch thick square. Fold it in half once more and pat out a ¾ inch thick rectangle. Using a knife, cut the dough into eight square-ish biscuits biscuits and place 1-2 inches apart on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

Bake at 425° oven for 14-17 min. on the top rack. Rotate your pan front to back at the 7 min. mark. When the biscuits are golden brown, remove them and brush the tops with the softened butter. The flavors actually intensify once they’ve cooled, so I like to cool them and reheat them slightly in the toaster oven to serve.

Refrigerate any leftover biscuits (Yeah, like there our gonna be leftovers of these babies!) But if there are, they are great for breakfast sandwiches. Just slice them in half, toast in a toaster oven for 2 minutes, and fill with fluffy scrambled eggs!


Kip Niven says:


In the past I have become a very willing chef's helper (slicing, dicing, cleaning up), but, lately, I have been interested in venturing more into the main cook role. There are a ga-zillion questions I have, but this recipe brings two to mind.

1: Why Kosher salt? I went to the store to buy some (as you use it with other TK recipes), but what they had on the shelf indicated that it was without added Iodine. Maybe it was my being raised on Morton's ("When it rains, it pours.") but I always thought that the added Iodine was a GOOD thing. What to do.

2: And speaking of adding ingredients, why salted butter. As an ol' geezer with higher-than-my-doctor-wants blood pressure, I'm trying to be mindful of my salt intake. I'll admit that the little salted butter frosting the tops of biscuits is NOTHING compared to the fries I ate from the Wendy's Drive-Thru last night, but is there that much difference in taste for this (and other) recipes?

That's it for now. No doubt more questions will follow.

Hug the Biscuit Boy for me.


Brian says:

Gazillion Questions, answers 1-2:
1 – Kosher salt: because it's all I use to cook with. Though raised on the ubiquitous Morton's, I never buy table salt nowadays. I find it hard to pinch for seasoning at the stove, and the crystals seem harsh to my palate at the table compared with flakier sea salts. I have all kinds of salts (smoked-3 kinds, sea-2 kinds, Hawaiian, Himalayan, Kosher-Morton for meats and Diamond Crystal for everything else, and even popcorn salt for… well, popcorn) but no table salt. Go figure. I don't worry about iodine deficiency because I eat many iodine rich foods (potatoes, fish, yogurt, beans) as well as take a vitamin that supplies it as well. Anyway, that's why all my recipes, including baking ones which traditionally are standardized with table salt, use Kosher salt. You can use either, but you'll need to adjust the amounts: 1 tablespoon table salt = 1 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt. So if you substitute table salt in my recipes, decrease the salt by 1/3. It'll be the same amount of salt by weight, but the smaller crystals of the table salt measure more compactly.

2 – Salted butter: I was going for a specific flavor: that salty, buttery hit from the crust that hits your tongue as you bite. It's a great sensation (Bojangles, Popeye's and Red Lobster prey on that craving with their biscuit-y offerings), but if you're worried about salt, leave it out. Truth be told, the biscuits in my photos were rubbed with unsalted butter as they emerged from my oven, and we can attest that they taste just fine, so you can use either. Or you can omit the butter-brushing altogether, because there is, what, a stick of butter in these things already, not to mention the cheese and bacon! They are plenty decadent–and tasty–without that final gilding of the lily! So it's up to you to gild or not.

Happy baking!