*This article includes mentions of merchants or brands who are partners of DoorDash, and DoorDash may receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase from these merchants or brands.
Welcome to Make/Buy/Zhuzh, a series where we plan a dinner party with three components: one thing you make from scratch, one thing you buy straight off the shelf, and one thing you accessorize to completion.
As an impatient baker, I have never been much of a breadmaker. I love the idea but get exhausted from kneading about a minute in (physically and mentally I am weak). But over the past decade of my life, the one thing I’ll make an exception for is homemade biscuits. Nothing beats a fluffy, buttery, flaky, tender, sky-high-layered carb. Or at least I thought so until I started making Butter Dip Biscuits.
Butter Dip, you ask? This ’50s-era Betty Crocker recipe has been adapted by many bloggers over the years, and it’s sometimes called Butter Swim or Butter Bath Biscuits. Whatever you want to call them, the dough is quite literally drenched in melted butter, giving the biscuits an extremely caramelized and crispy exterior, similar to focaccia or Detroit-style pan pizza, with a more springy and delightfully spongy-fluffy texture inside. The butter soaks into every crevice of the biscuits as they cool, meaning you don’t have to add extra butter… but go ahead and gild that lily if you want to.
These biscuits — either plain or the cheddar-chive version I perfected — have become the centerpiece of any brunch or “brinner” party I throw. In the past I’ve invited friends in advance and hosted a late-afternoon brunch on New Year’s Day. I make a big tower of biscuits, buy a bucket (or two) of chicken tenders or fried chicken, and zhuzh up a jar of honey by infusing it with jarred jalapeños for easy homemade hot honey. It’s my version of the ultimate hangover helper.
That said, these biscuits are so easy — 5 minutes of prep, about 30 minutes to bake — that you could feasibly make them for a weekday breakfast. If you’re going the Biscuits and Fried Chicken party route, Butter Dip Biscuits can be done in the time that it takes for your chicken to be delivered, and you can infuse honey and put out jam (and extra butter, if you dare) while the biscuits bake. Turns out you don’t have to risk it for the biscuit (“it” being your hard-earned leisure time) — as long as it’s butter-dipped!
Make: Cheddar & Chive Butter Dip Biscuits
Serves 6 to 8
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (from a block)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk (or more)
A small fistful of chives, cut or snipped into ½”-thick pieces, about 2 tablespoons
1 stick (½ cup) salted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 glass baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
Slice the cheddar cheese as thin as you can, and then chop it roughly like you would with chocolate for chocolate chunk cookies. (They will melt into cheese pockets in the biscuits!) Set aside.
Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and kosher salt to a large bowl (ideally glass, which the dough is less apt to stick to) and whisk to combine.
Pour in the buttermilk and stir with a silicone spatula until mostly combined. (Buttermilk varies in viscosity, so you may need to add a splash more if yours is on the thicker side.) The dough will be very sticky and wet, but don’t fret — it will bake beautifully. Just make sure not to over-stir or overwork the dough. You want it to just come together so there is no visible flour and everything is one homogenous blob of dough. In your last few stirs, mix in the cheddar and chives.
Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish — but don’t skip the greasing step, as the butter will soak into the biscuits — and then scrape the dough, using a spatula, into the pool of butter. Carefully spread it out as edge-to-edge as possible (a bit of butter will start to rise to the top) and then cut two lines into the dough horizontally and two vertically, about halfway down into the pan, so you have nine pre-cut biscuits. That will help make even cuts when they’re done baking, but you can also cut them smaller after they’re done.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until evenly golden brown and puffed up. It will deflate after leaving the oven, but admire the nooks, crannies, and cheesy pockets after it comes out of the oven.
Let the biscuits sit in the pan on the stovetop for at least 5 to 10 minutes so the butter can be absorbed, then cut into nine (or more) pieces and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
Buy: Your Favorite Fast Food Fried Chicken
I prefer chicken tenders because you can sandwich them into the biscuits without worrying about biting into a bone, but having a biscuit in one hand and a drumstick in the other is also a whole vibe.
If I had to rank fast food fried chicken tenders, Jollibee would be number one (if you are lucky enough to live near one), followed by Popeye’s and KFC. If you can get Korean fried chicken, especially the soy-garlic style, go for it. That intense crunch from double frying sounds like angels singing, and the tender, almost chewy (a friend likened it to kugel) biscuit complements it perfectly.
Zhuzh: Homemade Hot Honey
Lookin’ for some hot stuff? Make your own hot honey! Here’s how: Drain a 12-ounce jar of pickled sliced jalapeños over a bowl so you can reserve the brine. Pour 16 ounces of your favorite honey into a small saucepan and add the drained jalapeños. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.
Strain out the jalapeños and let them cool before adding them back to the brine (in its original jar) to have some sweet-and-spicy peppers for sandwiches, salads, nachos, and more — or keep ’em in for extra spicy hot honey. Either way, let the honey cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also get little honey jars — bonus points if they look like bears — and bottle up leftovers for your partygoers.
Looking for more New Year's ideas? Check out this brunch menu!
Photographer: Paul Quitoriano
Food Stylist: Cesar Aldrete
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez