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Flaky Biscuits with Cream Cheese and Chives

Flaky biscuits aren’t just those things from a can. You can make them from scratch with the best flavor (oh butter!) and perfect layers at home when you know the secrets. Make a pot of soup and whip up these biscuits for something delicious.

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three biscuits stacked on a cooling rack

Dough from a can. It’s been your thing because you didn’t know what else to do and yes–they’re easy.

Canned biscuits hit the U.S. in the 1930’s and have left many home bakers crippled at making them from scratch for generations.

Homemade flaky biscuits are never going to be like canned ones no matter what you do. That’s because canned ones are loaded with dough conditioners, stabilizers and preservatives we don’t have access to at home (thank goodness).

But homemade ones will be delicious and they will be worth it and you’ll probably change your mind about the can for good.

Are biscuits better with butter or shortening?

Butter without a doubt. I was raised on shortening biscuits but quickly dumped that for the flavor and health benefits of butter. Shortening is solid vegetable oil and it’s highly refined and inflammatory to the body.

It was one of the first unhealthy foods we cut when we started leaning to more real food ingredients.

In this recipe (and just about every recipe I make) I use salted butter. You can find my regular buttermilk biscuit recipe here if you need that, too.

Why is there cream cheese in this recipe? I don’t like cream cheese.

The goal here is to create dramatic layers of fat between the flour. The chunks of butter help, but spreading in layers of cream cheese push the flaky factor even further.

You may find a few bits of cream cheese in your biscuits after baking but 99% of it will disappear when it cooks. The flavor is also not obvious so cream cheese reluctant shouldn’t mind. I have a couple here at home and they loved these.

Tips for the best biscuits

  • If you don’t have buttermilk I’d rather you use sour cream or plain yogurt diluted with a bit of water instead of lemon juice or vinegar in milk. That’s not the same in any way to buttermilk.
  • Soften your cream cheese until spreadable and take it all the way to the edges. If your cream cheese isn’t soft, cut it in to cubes and it will soften in minutes.
  • Add any herbs or spices. Jalapeños, red pepper flakes, cheddar cheese, green onions–it’s all great.
  • Make sure the fat stays cold. Make sure you chill your dough as directed in the recipe before baking so you get the best flaky layers.

How to make flaky biscuits step by step

Why aren’t my biscuits flaky?

Your fat got lost somewhere in your dough. For flakes to develop, a layer of cold fat (butter, cream cheese, shortening, etc) needs to melt and release steam. If your fat is too small or if you handled it so much during mixing that the butter got soft and became one with the dough, then the layers are lost.

Serve your biscuits with:

three biscuits stacked on a cooling rack

Flaky Biscuits with Cream Cheese and Chives

Rustic cream cheese and chive biscuits offer a savory change to your brunch or dinner table.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 biscuits
Calories: 315kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour and a bit more for dusting
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup chives finely chopped (you may add any herbs you like)
  • 16 tablespoons butter 2 sticks, real butter only
  • 4 ounces cream cheese 1/2 a block, softened slightly
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions

  • In a large bowl or food procesor, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter in to 1 tablespoon size pieces and add them to the flour. Pulse until the butter is slightly larger than peas. You can also cut the butter in with two forks, your hands or a pastry blender.
  • Add in the chives and stir just to mix them in. Add the buttermilk and mix; turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 to 10 times to bring in any loose or dry pieces or bits of flour.
  • Press or roll the dough to a 2 inch thick rectangle and cut the dough into three rectangles.
  • Cut the cream cheese in to three pieces and spread it over the dough all the way to the edges. Stack the layers on top of each other, turning the top piece cream-cheese side down. You'll have two layers of cream cheese together but that's okay.
  • Roll the dough gently to 1 1/2 inches thick.
  • Using a well floured biscuit cutter, or knife, cut your desired shape. I cut 12, 2 inch squares.
  • Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray, freeze 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Bake the biscuits 25 minutes depending on how large they are. They should be lightly browned on the bottom and developing some darker brown on the top. Serve warm or room temperature with your favorite fillings.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 671IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg

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