Most Southern kitchens have at least one or two recipes for cheese straws or a member of the cheese pastry family. These tiny cheddar cheese biscuits – loaded with sharp cheddar cheese are a fun alternative to cheese straws and the perfect vehicle to transport a creamy pimento cheese, chicken salad or any number of your favorite toppings.
Delicate little cheese pastries – cheese biscuits are a cross between a buttery Southern biscuit (albeit a very flat biscuit!) and a classic cheese straw. The ingredients start with those similar to pastry dough and biscuits – flour, butter and kosher salt but with a mound of tangy cheddar added to the mix. And if you like a little bite of heat then cayenne pepper brings just the right touch.
Cheddar cheese biscuits come together quickly and though it takes a bit of time to roll them out, the recipe makes over 10 dozen biscuits and they freeze beautifully.
A note on the cheese – freshly grated cheese is always best for cooking and baking. Pre-packaged grated cheese has a coating added that prevents it from sticking together. A quick run through the food processor using the shredding blade and you can grate a pound of cheese in mere seconds! You want sharp cheddar cheese so the flavor pops but white or yellow cheddar is simply a visual preference.
The flavors of these tender cheese pastries mellow overnight so preparing them ahead of your soirée is a plus. With graduation celebrations, bridal showers and warm weather “get togethers” on the horizon, tiny cheddar cheese biscuits are an old classic that will make a beautiful addition to your event!
Tiny Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
4-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
In a large bowl, whisk the flour and kosher salt together. Add the shredded cheddar cheese, tossing to mix into the flour.
Using a large wooden spoon or your hands blend the softened butter and the cayenne pepper into the cheese and flour mixing until the dough holds when pressed together.
The dough will be crumbly.
Working in batches, gather up a handful and work the dough into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a disc. Roll the dough gently until it is 1/3” thick. Using a small biscuit cutter – about 1-1/2” in diameter cut out rounds of dough.
Place the biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
Bake the cheese biscuits in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes. They will spread a bit while baking but since there are no leavening agents like actual biscuits, don’t look for them to rise.
Cool on the pan for about ten minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve with pimento cheese, chicken salad or olive tapenades.
For freezing – lay the biscuits on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer until frozen. Then place the biscuits in a freezer bag or container with parchment between layers. They will keep for about 3-6 months in the freezer.