Biscuits. More importantly, American biscuits. Savory, cheesy, bacon-y biscuits. The perfect bread product to accompany Thanksgiving dinner. Now, most Americans have "views" when it comes to what constitutes the perfect biscuit. Buttermilk? Milk? Knead? No-knead? There are a variety of choices when it comes to these treats. I don't have a particular preference as it stands, but I know I've done something right when I can't stop eating them.
I used some recipes on epicurious.com as inspiration, largely because of the no-fail combination of cheese and bacon. Oh, and the 11,000 reviews which insisted that these were "literally" the best biscuits out there. And who am I to doubt? It can't be denied, they were warm gooey things, with a nice hint of cheese and bacon. But I am not one for subtlety. If I were to make these again, I'd ramp up the cheddar and bacon- make these things oozing with flavors. Also, as they weren't "formed" biscuits (i.e. made with a cookie or biscuit cutter), they were a bit unrefined. Now this has absolutely nothing to do with taste. But if you're presenting these to a crowd, the nice rounded "formed" biscuits do have a nice aesthetic appeal. Hey, call me a snob. But it's true.
6 thick-cut bacon slices
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus melted butter for brushing
2 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
Position rack just above center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, then chop coarsely.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter cubes. Blend until coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Add cheddar cheese, fresh chives, and chopped bacon; toss to blend. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will feel sticky).
Using lightly floured hands, drop generous 1/2 cup batter for each biscuit onto prepared baking sheet, spacing batter mounds about 2 inches apart.
Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Brush biscuits lightly with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature with honey, if desired.