To make these incredibly tender gluten free cream cheese biscuits, I prefer to use mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese. It’s lightly sweet and has a bit more depth of flavor than traditional cream cheese. But if you don’t have mascarpone available to you or just prefer a straight-up cream cheese, use that. You really can’t go wrong with Philly Cream Cheese.
Whichever road you take, these should be soft and flaky. And buttery. And crispity crunchity on the edges.
I really really hope you can have butter. I buy so much butter that my shipmate checker-outer at Trader Joe’s almost always makes some sort of “I guess you really like butter” comment.
I can’t say I blame him.
When I’m down to 3 pounds of butter, I think I’m running out. So I run out. And buy some more.
There’s the mascarpone. It’s very creamy (even though I’m not a big fan of that word, but it’s right here). And soft. It’s okay. Flour your clean fingers, and toss it to cover with dry ingredients, and break it up a bit.
Make a well, then pour in the milk. It’s not a ton of milk.
So it’s not a super-wet dough.
But the butter and cream cheese have plenty of moisture. Roll it out into a rectangle of sorts, and then fold it over in thirds.
Turn it 1/4 of the way around, so the side that was closest to you is now either on the left or the right. Then roll it out again into a rectangle. It’s kind of puff-pastry-like. It’s a “turn.” It really really works, though, to make your pastry all nice and flaky.
Take a chance! Be willing to get it wrong. And then the next time, you’ll get closer to right. I promise.
Brush the tops with some more milk.
Sprinkle with coarse salt. I used fleur de sel, since it’s so nice. But it’s so expensive that I only use a few grains on each biscuit. I’m miserly with my fleur de sel. If I found one of my kids dipping into that stuff, I think I’d put them in the stockade. You know, to send a message to the other 2.
See? Nice and fluffy, soft, salty and a little bit tangy.
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled, plus more for brushing tops
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, separate the pieces and toss in the dry ingredients. With clean and dry, well-floured fingers, flatten the flour-covered pieces of butter. Add the cream cheese, break it into pieces, and toss it in the dry ingredients. Create a well in the center of the bowl, and add the chilled buttermilk. Stir gently to combine until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, and pat it into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Dust the dough lightly with flour, and fold it in thirds by the short sides, like a business letter. Turn the dough one quarter of the way around in one direction, cover with another sheet of parchment paper, and roll out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Flour a round biscuit cutter, and cut out rounds of dough. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll the scraps, sprinkle lightly with flour if the dough is sticky, and cut more rounds of dough. Place the rounds on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the biscuits with a bit of milk or buttermilk, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until firm.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, rotating once during baking. Remove from the oven and allow to set briefly before serving.