Anyone who has taken even a passing glance at the biscuit recipes in Chapter 8 (Yeast-Free Quick Breads) in Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread (or, for that matter, at all the ways we have used biscuit dough here on the blog hello Biscuit Donuts) knows that I have a deep and abiding fondness not only for biscuit dough, but for folding it and “turning” it like puff pastry. But every once in a while, you really need some biscuits in a hurry (“need” being a relative term here, I realize). Enter gluten free cornmeal drop biscuits. These are heartier than your typical drop biscuit, on account of the cornmeal and cheese, and not flaky in the same way that my other biscuits are born to be, but they’re tender and so flavorful that they make a regular chicken dinner into an event.
In fact, they’re so tender inside, and lightly crispy outside, that I might just reach for one even if there were some of the puff-pastry style layered and flaky biscuits nearby.
It also doesn’t hurt that they come together in the blink of an eye. We love these with Asiago cheese, perhaps because we all love all the intense flavor that it brings and the way it pairs perfectly with the chew of the cornmeal, but you could use any semi-hard cheese. Cheddar would also be dreamy. You might notice that the portions of dough are dusted lightly with extra flour. Since the method used to make drop biscuits doesn’t naturally seal in the butter as well as the method used to make layered biscuits, the dusting of flour helps keep the butter from escaping during baking.
I just had a thought: these are so good that I would consider making them for myself for dinner (if by some miracle it was just me and my husband, or even just me alone) and having cornmeal drop biscuits + a glass of red wine for dinner. If that doesn’t send you running to the kitchen, I just don’t know you like I thought I did!
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled
4 ounces Asiago cheese, grated
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the chopped butter to the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Flatten each piece of butter between your floured thumb and forefinger. Add the grated cheese and mix to combine. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the buttermilk. Mix with a large spoon or spatula until the dough comes together. Using a large, spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop about 3 1/2 tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet in a rounded heap, placing the pieces about 2 inches apart from one another. Dust each piece of dough with a thin layer of extra flour. This will help keep the biscuits from “leaking” butter in the oven as they bake.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill the dough until firm (about 5 minutes).* Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown around the edges (about 15 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.
*The dough can also be frozen solid, placed in a freezer-safe bag and frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, place back on a baking sheet, and bake from frozen. You may need to add a couple minutes of baking time when baking from frozen.