Biscuit Basics

Better biscuits through experimentation

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Some cookbooks will have you believe that making flaky, featherlight biscuits requires a combination of alchemy and special training. As we proved this week, this is not true.

So now that you're in possession of a spectacular recipe for ethereal biscuits, it's time to play.

Go savory: Cheese, such as shredded sharp cheddar, grated Parmesan or blue cheese, can be added to the dough, as well as nuts: We like toasted walnuts or pecans. Sesame and poppy seeds are welcome, and you can't go wrong with crumbled, cooked bacon or finely diced ham or Spanish-style chorizo. Try adding some smoky paprika, chopped fresh jalapeƱos or sliced green onions.

Go sweet: Chocolate chips are the obvious choice, but citrus zest and finely diced dried fruit, including apricots, figs and raisins, would be great too. Avoid fresh fruit, which will add too much moisture to the dough.

Just eat: We love Carrie Mashaney's suggestion of splitting the biscuits and topping them with a slice of griddled ham. But we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that they are particularly awesome with pimento cheese or as a fluffy foundation for sausage gravy. If you can still find late-season berries and peaches, you can pile them on the split biscuits and top the lot with whipped cream. Or use the biscuits to make tiny fried chicken sandwiches, then watch your friends lose their minds.