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RECIPES: Use this cream biscuit dough for a variety of sweet and savory treats

by Jessie Sheehan The Washington Post | June 7, 2023 at 1:53 a.m.
These Pigs in a Blanket, Cinnamon Pull-Apart Muffins, Drop Biscuits and Cheesy Chive and Pepper Pinwheels were all made using the same, one-bowl Cream Biscuit Dough. (For The Washington Post/Rey Lopez)


What if I told you a simple cream biscuit dough, which is a breeze to make, could be the foundation for a slew of celebratory baked treats, both sweet and savory. Did you know you could make pull-apart-bread (or muffins) with such a dough? Or savory cheese-and-herb pinwheels? Or everyone's favorite: pigs in the proverbial blanket?

Well, it can.

Although any biscuit dough will work to make a variety of baked goods, this tender, versatile cream biscuit dough works particularly well. First, it is crazy simple to assemble (heavy cream acts as both the fat and liquid in the dough) which is helpful when you are making a dough that's destined for use in a recipe that requires additional steps. And second, it bakes up so tender and rich that it is as sumptuous on its own as it is as the foundation for any biscuit dough-inspired creations.

The dough can be made into drop biscuits, and I hope you love them for that. In short, that means they are not only one-bowl, but they never leave said bowl (aka no dumping out onto the counter to knead, cut, etc.). That is, of course, unless you use it to make pull-apart muffins, pigs-in-a-blanket and pinwheels. In that case, you transfer the dough to a generously floured surface, knead it a few times until it comes together and then roll or form it as needed.

Here are a few insights about why the dough works so well and tips and tricks to ensure all your biscuit-based treats are as easy and delicious as promised.

◼️ Cake flour for tenderness. The cream biscuit dough here calls for cake flour as well as all-purpose, as the combination of the two replicates a flour oft-used in the South when biscuit-making, White Lily. White Lily famously produces ultra-tender biscuits. I learned this tip from none other than the biscuit queen herself, Cheryl Day of Back in the Day bakery in Savannah, Ga., and have never looked back. But if you don't have cake flour on hand, you can just use all-purpose.

◼️ Sugar as a seasoning, not a sweetener. I know it might seem strange to add sugar to the biscuit dough, since cheesy pinwheels and pigs in a blanket are savory, but the sugar actually plays the role of a seasoning, or flavor enhancer, here, not a sweetener.

◼️ The egg wash is worth it. I love a short ingredient list as much as the next person. But I do make an exception here for the egg wash. The color and flavor that the egg adds to the exterior of these otherwise pale treats is just too good to pass up. But you can brush with cream instead, which is already in the ingredient list, thus simplifying the assembly.

◼️ The power of high heat. Not only does baking at a high heat translate into treats ready in record time, but it also guarantees that the leavening in the dough will be activated quickly. Your biscuits will therefore be airy and light.

◼️ Secret ingredient for beautiful biscuit-dough pinwheels: mayo. Spreading a thin layer of mayonnaise – yes, mayonnaise – on your dough before adding the cheese, herbs and pepper not only helps your ingredients stick to the dough as you roll it up, but also adds richness and flavor. Not in an obvious, oh-there's-mayo-in-this kind of way, but by giving the pinwheels a wonderfully unctuous vibe. Finally, consider using yellow cheddar in them, as the color makes them more festive and fun.

◼️ Be creative with the spices of your pull-apart muffins. I call for tossing the melted-butter-dunked dough in cinnamon and sugar, but feel free to add a little nutmeg to the mix, or even cocoa powder. Or switch things up entirely and toss in a pumpkin-spice mixture.

◼️ Make biscuit croutons from your dough scraps. When slicing off the ends of your dough-wrapped hot dogs or trimming your pinwheels before baking, consider cutting the scraps into bite-size pieces (they may be already that size), brushing them with egg wash and baking them at the same time. The resulting baby biscuits make fabulous croutons, or tasty cook's treats.

Biscuit dough isn't just for biscuits anymore. So here's to embracing its magical versatility.

THE RECIPES

Whipping up a tray of cream biscuits is just straight-up baking alchemy: You assemble them with heavy cream, rather than butter, resulting in biscuits that are not only tender and rich, but can be thrown together in about 5 minutes and baked in about 15. The bonus here: This cream biscuit dough is so versatile. It can be scooped and baked for egg sandwich-worthy drop biscuits; rolled out and filled with cheese, herbs and spices for a savory pinwheel cookie; folded up around a hotdog and sliced into little blanketed pigs; or, cut into pieces, dunked in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar for the cutest little individual pull-apart breads you've ever seen.

  photo  Drop Biscuits (For The Washington Post/Rey Lopez)  To make one of the related recipes, follow the directions below to make the dough, then use the unbaked, unportioned dough in those recipes. All of the related recipes can be assembled quickly, and although they are all best served warm right out of the oven, you can make ahead and freeze them all: Just reheat on a baking sheet (or place the muffins back in a tin) in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes right before serving.

Cream Biscuits

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons fine salt, divided
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • Salted butter, for serving
  • Jam, for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the cream and stir with a flexible spatula until no loose flour remains. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop the dough into 9 biscuits, and evenly space them on the prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and lightly brush each biscuit with the egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the tops and bottoms of the biscuits are nicely browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving with the butter and jam.

Biscuits are best as soon as they are made, but can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 9 biscuits.

Nutrition information: Each biscuit contains approximately 256 calories, 4 g protein, 16 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 75 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

  photo  Cheesy Chive and Pepper Pinwheels (For The Washington Post/Rey Lopez)

Cocktail party snacks never looked so cute, tasted so good and took less time. Biscuit dough makes easy yet delicious work of these cheesy pinwheels. Try them as the recipe describes or make them with your own herb and cheese combo. They would be lovely with a glass of white or red – or really any beverage that says "party time" to you.

The dough scraps can be used to make biscuit croutons. Cut the dough scraps into 1-inch pieces, brush with the egg wash, then bake for about 10 minutes.

Cheesy Chive and Pepper Pinwheels

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 batch Cream Biscuit dough (see previous recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (or whatever shredded cheese you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Generously flour your work surface. Transfer the biscuit dough to it and knead it a few times until it comes together and is smooth.

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough 14-by-10-inch rectangle with the long side facing you, and spread the mayonnaise over the dough, leaving a ½- to 1-inch border at the edges. Evenly sprinkle the cheese, chives and pepper over the mayonnaise, pressing down lightly with your hands to help it adhere.

Trim the edges of the dough right to the edge of the mayonnaise and, starting from the long edge of the rectangle closest to you, begin tightly rolling up the dough, until a 12-inch long log is formed. Pinch the dough with your fingers to seal the seam.

Using a serrated knife, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (each about ¾ inches long) – the dough will be sticky -- and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and salt until combined. Using a pastry brush, coat each pinwheel with the egg wash.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the tops and bottoms of the wheels are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 16 pinwheels (8 servings).

Nutrition information: Each 2-pinwheel serving contains approximately 391 calories, 10 g protein, 27 g fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 127 mg cholesterol, 713 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

  photo  Pull-Apart Cinnamon Muffins (For The Washington Post/Rey Lopez)

No one will believe that this sweet breakfast treat is made from biscuit dough. Small pieces of dough are dunked in melted butter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, piled in a muffin tin and baked, transforming into delectable mini pull-apart breads with doughnut-like flavor and texture.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Muffins

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
  • 1 batch Cream Biscuit dough
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Generously flour your work surface. Transfer the biscuit dough to it and knead it a few times until it comes together and is smooth.

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-by-12-inch square and cut into 64 (1 ½-by-1 ½-inch) pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until well-combined.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Eyeball to make sure your dough balls are fairly equal in size. Dunk each in the melted butter, and then toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture before evenly distributing them among the 12 muffin cups; you'll have 4 leftover pieces that you can add to any tin cup that looks needy.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, fragrant and set. Let cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving.

The muffins are best served warm, but will keep tightly wrapped on the counter for up to 3 days.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 342 calories, 3 g protein, 19 g fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 77 mg cholesterol, 361 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

  photo  Pigs in a Blanket (For The Washington Post/Rey Lopez)

If you want your pigs in tender, rich blankets, make them using Cream Biscuit dough (see related recipe). The dough comes together in 10 minutes. Wrap your hot dogs in strips of the dough, slice them, chill them for 10 minutes and bake them until golden brown. The dough is tender, so it is essential to let the pigs in a blanket cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The dough scraps can be used to make biscuit croutons. Cut the dough scraps into 1-inch pieces, brush with the egg wash, then bake for about 10 minutes.

Pigs in a Blanket

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 batch Cream Biscuit dough
  • 8 (6-inch) hot dogs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Generously flour your work surface. Transfer the biscuit dough to it and knead it a few times until it comes together and is smooth. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough 5-by-16-inch rectangle and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Place a hot dog on each rectangle (it should be about the length of the hot dog) and wrap it in the biscuit dough, pulling and pinching the dough a bit until you can seal it around the meat. Try not to cover the ends of the hot dog, but if there is just too much extra dough, you can trim it. Roll the wrapped hot dog on the counter to further seal the dough and to distribute it evenly around the meat.

Slice each hot dog into six pieces, trimming the ends if necessary and place the pieces, hot dog side up, on the prepared baking sheet. As you cut, rotate the hot dog each time to avoid flattening the dough on one side. Transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with salt until combined. Use a pastry brush to coat the sides and top of the "blanket" in the egg wash and transfer to the oven.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is lightly browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days; reheat in a 350-degree oven until warmed through.

Makes 48 pieces.

Nutrition information: Each 2-piece serving contains approximately 143 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 44 mg cholesterol, 359 mg sodium and no fiber.

Print Headline: Very versatile

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