There were cookies at every holiday party you've attended this season. Your grandmother sent you cookies in the mail. Your best friends threw a "wake and bake" cookie brunch. Your life has been full of white, sugary dough and sprinkles in all shades of red and green these past couple of weeks. So full, that when your family suggested a cookie exchange on Christmas Eve, you had to take a quick nap.
May we suggest…that you suggest…a biscuit exchange instead?
"I love biscuits; let's just get that out now," says Chadwick Boyd, a food and entertaining expert based in New York City and Atlanta. Boyd organizes the annual International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN, and he recently threw a biscuit throw-down in Manhattan, inviting guests to bring plates of their best versions. "There are so many ways to make a biscuit, so the likelihood of [two people] bringing the same thing is very low," he says. Can you say the same thing about those ginger snaps? "And biscuits always come with a story, which allows people to share more than the biscuit. They get to share themselves."
Boyd's own contribution was a batch of marionberry-and-Gouda biscuits. "At first glance, they look like sweet scones," he says, "but they are loaded with rich, aged Gouda and my favorite berry, the delicious Oregon marionberry." Get his recipe below, and then consider throwing your own last-minute biscuit bash.
If you can't find marionberries in your store's freezer section, use regular blackberries instead. For a special occasion, fold in a half-cup of chopped walnuts or sprinkle in a tablespoon or more of fresh rosemary.
- 6½ c. flour, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1½ c. frozen marionberries
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
- ⅓ c. raw sugar
- 1½ c. grated Gouda cheese
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and grated, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
- 2 c. buttermilk
- Maldon or other flake salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, toss the marionberries in 2 tablespoons flour to coat, then return to the freezer.
- In a large, wide-rimmed bowl, whisk together 6½ cups flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, sugar, and cheese. Add the grated butter and work the dough with your fingers until pea-sized crumbles form.
- Slowly pour in the buttermilk, one cup at a time, and gently bring the dough together with your hands. It should be a little tacky to the touch. Fold in the frozen berries.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat out to about ¾-inch thickness. Using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. Arrange on the baking sheet so they are slightly touching.
- Working the dough as little as possible, repeat until all the dough is used. Brush the biscuit tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with flake salt.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh for one day stored in an airtight container at room temperature.