Basil and Cheddar Biscuits

June 7, 2022

The tomato paste in this dough results in biscuits that are tinged orange-pink and flecked with green. The flavor is a winning combination—tomatoes, basil, cheddar, and a hint of garlic—rich and savory. No butter needed! If you want to make these during cold weather and you have no fresh basil, use about 1 ½ tablespoons (22 ml) of dried basil. Crumble the dried leaves into the milk. These biscuits won’t have the same perfume and taste as the ones prepared with fresh basil, but they are still quite nice.

Yield: 2 dozen biscuits

  • 2 cups less 2 tablespoons (445 ml) unbleached flour
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) 2% or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup (120 ml) finely minced basil

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Combine the flours, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and blend thoroughly. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, combine the milk with the tomato paste, blending well. Press the garlic through a garlic press into the milk and stir. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients along with the cheese and basil, and stir to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured pastry marble or board, knead gently until it just comes together, and roll out to ½-inch (1-cm) thickness. Cut the dough into 1 ¾- to 2-inch 4.5- to 5-cm) squares, diamonds, or rounds and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits for 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove to a baking rack to cool slightly before serving. The biscuits are best served warm and right after baking. If you want to prepare them in advance, cool them completely and store them in an air-tight container. Wrap them in foil and gently reheat in a 325°F (160°C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes.