Pepper & Parmesan Biscuits with Sun-dried Tomato Whipped Mascarpone
These beauties right here? One of my favorite recipes ever.
Yes, ever. It’s a big statement, I know, but just one look at these gorgeous little biscuits and I think you can understand why.
Just imagine them fresh out of the oven, sweet wafts of buttery goodness filling your beachside home as guests gather round the table. Picture the smiling faces, the twitches of eager anticipation, the excitement of being fed something utterly exquisite yet still comforting, familiar, and warm. Envision hands grabbing at a perfectly presented basket, fingers racing to gobble up every bite, mouths stuffed to the gills but still begging for more. There will be howls of happiness met with bellies joyously rubbed, and not a leftover crumb in sight.
That’s what these biscuits are about.
My recent affinity for baking has taken pretty much everyone by surprise, but no one more than me. Now that I’m able to devote myself to cooking full-time, I’ve found that my previous desire to prepare quick & easy everything has slowly morphed into a passion for authentic, creative, mouth-watering cooking. I’ve become a sucker for presentation and carefully constructed meals, though that’s not to say that easy and creative have to be mutually exclusive – This recipe is the perfect example of how you can have both. But in general my focus has been shifting to the more seasonal, rustic, farm-to-table side of life, and finding a knack for baking has been a big part of that.
I’ve realized that a lot of my prior issues with baking stemmed from my inability to follow rules, which is still an ongoing battle. Taking directions, being told what to do, listening to advice? It’s not really my thang. I’m more of a wing-it kinda gal, the type of chick who just assumes she knows how to do everything, because why wouldn’t I? I’m amazing. But unfortunately life will really punch you in the face when you’ve got this kind of attitude, and I believe they call it karma.
In college my car routinely got ticketed, towed, booted, whatever, due to my absolute disregard for parking laws, which I still think are pretty silly. I’ve gotten sick from eating 12-week old pizza (bright idea, right?), been burnt to lovely shades of fuchsia for considering sunscreen “beneath me”, and endured approximately 38,000 baking mishaps due to eye-balling flour, guessing cooking times and temperatures, and thinking margarine and butter are the same thing, which they certainly are NOT.
Also, do you think I’m stubborn? I say no.
But once I realized that a little education could really help my baking execution, things got dramatically better. I started reading and learning, and slowly I began to understand the unique science of baking. So when I stumbled upon a simple buttermilk biscuit recipe with lots of add-on potential, I decided I could make it my own without completely winging-it into smithereens.
I had knowledge now – I got this.
My inspo recipe was the perfect starting off point for a number of reasons, among them the clear step-by-step photos and simple, straight-forward instructions. But the biggest gems I got were these:
1.) Before you put your biscuits in the oven, make sure they are COLD. A chilled dough rises better and results in a more uniform texture and finish, so this was a big one for me.
2.) GRATE YOUR BUTTER. Seriously, this one is life changing. For someone who still refuses to purchase a pastry cutter, this was a major revelation. Instead of freaking out about having to “cut in” butter or needing fancy tools, simply grate your butter, freeze it good, and when you’re ready to use it, just gently whisk it into your flour – The results will be nearly identical to the professional method, but this way is much, much easier.
With a baseline recipe and cooking method in hand, a little touch of parmesan and pepper (plus a swap of skim milk for buttermilk) were all the tweaks I needed to make this baby mine.
For whatever reason I got it into my head that pepper and parmesan would be an incredible biscuit addition, and luckily my gut was spot on. The cheesy, peppery notes provide a luscious kick without being overpowering, making them a subtle touch that’s just Goldilocks-right. I was also happy to find that these were just lightly buttery, not dense or oily like other biscuit recipes I’ve found. And the texture is beyond heavenly, with an ultra flaky + fluffy finish that is truly scrumptious, I had so much fun peeling back each feathery layer and devouring them with delight.
But what really takes this recipe from home run to grand slam?
The dreamy sun-dried tomato whipped mascarpone.
Seriously – If you love sun-dried tomatoes, this needs to be your new kitchen staple. Sweet, savory, and fresh (thanks basil!), this spread has multidimensional flavor and a pillow-y consistency that melts off the tip of your tongue, you’d be a fool to not dig in with a spoon. And when you put these two creations together? Magic. The cheesy, buttery, peppery biscuits slathered with this classic-meets-innovative spread is literally beyond words – Your mouth will be far too full for commentary.
But your facial reactions? They’ll say it all.
A sparkle in your eye, a slap-stick smile on your face, a mouth lined with crumbs and hands gently shining from a thin film of butter. You’ll be surrounded by plates licked to completion, a table scattered with remnant flowers and half-drunken coffees, but not a bit of a biscuit to be found. There will praise for the cook, laughter at your exorbitant fullness, and an uncanny desire to do it all again soon.
That’s what these biscuits are about 🙂 x
Pepper & Parmesan Biscuits with Sun-dried Tomato Whipped Mascarpone
- 6 tbsps Salted Butter
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder, sifted
- pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda, sifted
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 – 2 tsps Coarse Black Peppercorn (eye ball it to your liking)
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp Skim Milk
- Crisco to grease
- SUN-DRIED TOMATO WHIPPED MASCARPONE:
- 1 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes (dry, not in oil!)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Fresh Diced Basil
- pinch of Salt
- 8 oz Mascarpone cheese, softened
- a touch of Water (if needed)
- Begin by creating the whipped mascarpone. In food processor combine sun-dried tomatoes, EVOO, basil, and salt, pulsing until pureed. Next add in mascarpone and blend ingredients once more until a whipped texture takes shape, ~1-2 minutes. If you need to add water at this stage (it really depends on the strength of your food processor), do so if needed. Once mixture is whipped, place in refrigerator until needed.
- Preheat oven to 450F. Amply grease baking sheet with Crisco, then set aside.
- Using a handheld cheese grater grate butter into a small bowl, then place in freezer until needed.
- In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, sea salt, and baking soda, mixing well. Next, whisk cold grated butter into flour mixture until a mealy texture takes hold, then whisk in grated parmesan and black pepper. (*Be sure to not over-whisk your flour during these additions, as this will warm up the butter – A few gentle whisks is all you should need). Lastly, add in skim milk and stir mixture with a wooden spoon until dough takes shape.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and gently form into a rough ball. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half, then place one half on top of the other half before gently pressing the halves together to shape the dough back into a ball. Repeat 3 times.
- Using a rolling-pin roll out dough into an even sheet, ~1/2″ thick. Use cookie cutters to extract round shapes from dough, then transfer to greased baking sheet. When all rounds have been cut, place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes to re-chill the dough.
- When ready, transfer baking sheet directly from the freezer into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until biscuits are golden and fluffy. Serve immediately with a thick slathering of whipped mascarpone!
recipe adapted from Girl vs. Dough