Cheese Biscuits with Lavender Pepper

Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming Monday, October 12th.  With whomever you decide to celebrate with, be it friends or family in your small group – here is an easy and delicious little recipe to add to your dinner.  Or; just have them for breakfast or afternoon tea.

photo: d. king
This plate belonged to my grandmother.

I used Wensleydale cheese only because I was looking for a good way to use up this cheese which is one of my least favourites, and I love cheese.  This type of cheese is not easy to spread on crackers as it crumbles and it has a slightly sweet taste. However it’s awesome in this recipe. You can also use aged cheddar or a combo of cheddar/parmesan.  I bet Gruyère would be good too.  This recipe was supposed to be scones but I think they turn out more like biscuits.  The lavender pepper is a nice added touch and something I’ll continue to use.

Cheese Biscuits with Lavender Pepper

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • ¾ to 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup shredded *Wensleydale (the one without cranberries) or other cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried, culinary lavender flowers (or use 1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers)
  • 1 tsp. **Lavender Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a shallow mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lavender pepper.
  3. Add the cubed butter and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or a fork until butter is about the size of small peas.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk, a quarter of a cup at a time, until it forms a wet dough. Stir in the cheese until completely combined.
  5. Scoop onto a baking sheet by large spoonfuls and bake 12 to 15 minutes until tops are golden brown.
photo: d. king. Adding red chili pepper spread is yummy.

*Fun Facts: According to the official website of the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, a.k.a. the company that produces Wensleydale Cheese, the first people to make this particular dairy delight were French Cistercian monks back in the 12th century. After arriving in Wensleydale and the nearby surrounds, they set about making their cheese, albeit with ewe’s milk rather than the cow’s milk typical today.  I say Ewwww!

Wallace (of Wallace and Gromit fame) is an advocate of a good hunk of Wensleydale, but did you know that the Aardman Animations shorts helped revive the company back in the 1990s? It’s true! The brand was floundering, but animator Nick Park’s (coincidental) decision to namedrop Wensleydale Cheese helped boost sales. You can now even get Wensleydale Cheese wrapped in Wallace and Gromit branded packaging.

Another fun fact: I never watched Wallace and Gromit – but I think this marketing ploy was genius.

**To make lavender pepper combine black peppercorns with lavender flowers (half and half) and grind together using a clean coffee grinder or herb grinder.

The lavender works surprisingly well with pepper, offering a flowery note that stands up to the peppery bite without the bitterness.  Also good to use on pork, chicken or beef.

Enjoy!

someone bought me this dish towel

Here is the original recipe:

Wensleydale Scones

Simply Satisfying – Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread

 You can get creative with all your cookie-making at Christmas but don’t leave out the shortbread.  It may be too late for this Christmas but the results are worth it.  If you don’t have time,  file it for next year.   

Dish from ClayZone
Dish from ClayZone

I love cookies anytime.   My baking favorites are thumbprint (with homemade jam centre), writer’s block (oatmeal, raisins & chai spices), chocolate chip (using 4 different kinds) and old-fashioned peanut butter.

A friend gave me this recipe (originally from Canadian Living) which is perked up with orange rind and partially dipped in chocolate.  What can be better than orange & chocolate?

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup (125 ml) superfine sugar (like castor but I ended up using organic cane)

2 tsp (10 ml) finely grated orange rind

¼ (1 ml) tsp salt

2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) cornstarch

3 ½ oz (100 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, orange rind and salt until fluffy.  Stir in flour and cornstarch to make a smooth dough.

Divide dough in half.  Form each into 10-inch (25 cm) log.  Wrap each and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Slice logs into ¼ inch (6 mm) thick rounds.  Place, 1-inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake in 325 F oven until firm, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on pans for 5 minutes, transfer to racks and let cool completely.

Coating:  In heatproof bowl over sauce of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate, let cool to room temperature.  Tip: I put the chocolate in a small pot placed right in a steamer which lets it gently melt without burning.  Try to use the best quality bulk chocolate you can find.  I use Callebaut.

Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, gently shaking off any excess.  Refrigerate on waxed paper-lined baking sheets until firm, about 30 minutes.  Makes about 30-35 cookies.