Cheddar Biscuits + Food52’s Holiday Survival Guide iPad App Giveway

leftover ham & arugula sandwich on cheddar biscuit with mustard sauce

My family is arriving in 6 days, and I cannot wait. It has been too long since we have all been together — too long since I’ve heard my mother declare her beautiful dinner both over and undercooked and in any case ruined; too long since I’ve watched my sister excuse herself from dinner early, singing The Messiah as she curls up on the couch, signaling she is too, too tired to clean up; and too long since I have found myself in the kitchen, dish towel in hand, surrounded by the usual dutiful crew. Family, I love you so much and cannot wait to have you here.

What I’m most looking forward to, however, is not our big Christmas Day feast, but the days following, when the fridge will be stocked with the most scrumptious leftovers, and when out of the freezer and into the oven will go these buttermilk biscuits, the perfect vessel for housing slices of ham or turkey or roast beef, handfuls of arugula, and a slathering of mustard sauce (so delicious, a must-know sauce if you’re serving ham, see recipe below).

The biscuit recipe comes from Food52’s Holiday Recipe and Survival Guide iPad app, which is awesome and which, if you are interested, can be yours, too — just share your own holiday entertaining tips in the comment section below for a chance to win (Food52 is awarding five promo codes to the best entertaining tips, culled from everyone’s blog post comments).

Are you curious about the app? I was, too. Before I downloaded it, I wondered how it would differ from visiting the Food52 website — if many of the recipes in the app are available on the website, why would downloading the app be necessary? I’m probably stating the obvious for many of you, but for any of you app newbies, the difference is all about the experience. After just 15 minutes with the app, navigating from section to section became as natural as turning to my go-to recipe in a favorite cookbook, an experience you often don’t get with a website. Moreover, because the app is designed for the iPad, it’s lightning fast, so navigating from one chapter to another is instant. Truthfully — and I hate to admit it because I love my cookbooks — finding a recipe in the app is easier than finding one in a cookbook. And finally, because the app is a holiday survival guide, all of the content — recipes, videos, event checklists — is holiday specific. In other words, (and again, I’m stating the obvious) you’ve got it all in one place — how to carve a turkey, how to stock your bar, how to plan ahead — so you’re not wasting time jumping from one website to another, bookmarking various pages, printing recipes from this site and that.

I don’t need to tell you all how much I love Food52 — I’ve done it many times in the past (like here and here). I find their video clips to be very helpful. The first one I watched on peeling tomatoes led me to discover Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce (also known as the world’s greatest tomato sauce). The one included below — How to Make Three Minute Gravy — is another goodie.

So, do you have any great entertaining tips? I’ve got one: use the freezer. These biscuits bake beautifully straight from the freezer. No thawing is necessary, just a few minutes more in the oven and you’ve got the makings of the best breakfast sandwich, an irresistible lunch, or a perfect dipper for any wintry soup or stew. Yum.

biscuits, cut, with eggwash

cheddar biscuits, just out of the oven

dough, just out of the mixer

dough and biscuit cutters

Bake these biscuits straight from the freezer — no thawing is necessary, just increase the cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes:

cheddar biscuit, baked straight from the freezer

Are you making a ham this holiday? If so, make this mustard sauce, too. It is so delicious and so simple to prepare — it’s a matter of bringing a few ingredients to a boil and then passing the mixture through a strainer. It’s fantastic for leftover ham sandwiches.

straining mustard sauce

totally delicious mustard sauce

sandwich ingredients

Cheddar Biscuits

Source: Food52

Below is the recipe from the Food52 website, but I encourage you all to read through the comments and questions about this recipe on the Food52 website — I found the comment section very helpful.

Makes 10 to 12 large biscuits

3 1/2 cups minus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt*
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold unsalted butter (use a good brand, like Plugra, with a high butterfat content)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

*Some people who commented on the food52 website found the biscuits to be too salty. We definitely did not, but if you are sensitive to salt, perhaps reduce the salt to 2 tsp or less.

1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and put it in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, cut the butter into chunks and leave out at room temperature (you want it malleable, but not soft).

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chilled dry ingredients, the cheese and the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a few minutes, until the chunks of butter are no bigger than a large pea – or a small bean. (In the oven, the water in the chunks of butter creates steam, which in turn will creates lovely pockets of air within the biscuits.)

3. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix on low just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, dust your fingers with flour and gently knead it a few times. Quickly and carefully pat the dough into a large rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick.

4. Dip a 3-inch round cutter with sharp edges in flour and then cut the biscuits using an even downward motion, without twisting the cutter. Transfer the rounds of dough to the baking sheets, leaving an inch or two of space between them. When you’ve cut the first batch of biscuits, gently pat the dough into another rectangle and cut a few more — discard the dough or add the funky leftover shapes to the baking sheets after the second batch is cut (if you shape the dough a third time, the biscuits will be tough).

5. Beat the egg with a splash of water (if you’re feeling fancy, you can then pass it through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any clumps of egg white that might burn). Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with egg wash* and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the biscuits are a deep golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets but serve them while still warm!

*At this point you can stick your prepared pan in the freezer. Once the biscuits are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag to store. When you are ready to bake, there is no need to thaw the biscuits. Just bake them straight from the freezer. I had to cook mine about 3 minutes longer when baking them from the freezer. And I did apply the egg wash before freezing them — worked beautifully.

Mustard Sauce

In my family, this mustard sauce is as essential as the ham on the holiday table. It’s another one of those sauces your guests will want to bathe in.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons dry mustard
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream

1. Place a strainer over a medium-sized bowl (able to hold about 2 cups of liquid). Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil while monitoring closely and stirring often. As soon as the mixture comes to boil, pour it through the strainer into the bowl. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

leftover ham and arugula sandwich on cheddar biscuit with mustard sauce


  1. Margaret says

    These look so delicious! This is my first comment but I love your blog (and your Pinterest boards) and have been following it ever since Mark Bittman mentioned it!

    Quick unrelated question – I’ve been baking up a storm of quickbreads for the holidays…and I picked up some of those cute disposable paper loaf pans that you used for pumpkin bread. My latest batchs have been expanding super wide – my bread looks obese, not exactly gift giving quality! Have you had that problem, any tips as to how to handle? Am I filling them up to high with batter? Next time I might try to flank the sides of the paper pan with ramekins…some kind of bread girdle :)

    • says

      Margaret — Oh no, that’s no fun! I actually have a set of small non-disposable pans that I often bake the quickbreads in and then transfer them to the disposable loaf pans. The trouble with this is that the loaf pans I have are a bit bigger than the disposable ones, so I have to kind of cram the loaves into the disposable pans when I’m ready to give them as gifts. Anyway, that’s another issue. I love your bread girdle idea — hilarious — but I think you might be on to something. As you’ve mentioned, you could try filling the pans less — that certainly might help — or maybe you could even tie twine around the pan once you’ve filled them to reinforce the structure? This is another idea, but perhaps way too fussy: Do you have dried beans that you use for blind baking tart shells? You could potentially fill a large loaf pan with beans, and then nestle your disposable pan into the beans and bake the pan that way? I don’t know, I’ll keep thinking. If you make any discoveries report back! Sorry you are having these troubles.

  2. says

    Leftovers are always my favorite thing! Those biscuits look amazing.

    Here is my tip for more fridge space. When I need to double up say, two 9×13 baking dishes, or any other size for that matter, I place a piece of cardboard on top of one and stack the other on top. Double the space!

    Happy Holidays! Lisa

  3. says

    Love those gorgeous biscuits. My holiday entertaining tip is to make different yummy salads and dips and put them wide mouthed one pint mason jars. So much more attractive than plastic containers. Egg salad, tuna, chicken, hummus, pimento, etc. Take out with crackers, toasts and voila everyone can snack. I’m going to be posting about this soon. It’s good for party or just hanging out with family during holidays.

  4. judy says

    My entertaining tip is simple. Be prepared early. I make lots of things for the freezer early so as not to be too stressed for the holidays or any entertaining. I freeze homemade granola, muffins, breads, pie dough, bolognese sauce and many other things to make a quick dinner , breakfast , or appetizer.

  5. says

    be prepared. I hate being/feeling rushed and I’m not a good hostess if that’s the case. I can relax if I’m prepared early. and the attitude of a hostess always makes or breaks a party.

  6. Margaret says

    Thanks! You might be on to something with the beans idea, I might do that next and see if it works, will let you know! I just love these cute little disposable pans – I also might just invest in some other mini-loaf pans and transfer, like you do. Regardless, it’s not the worst situation, I now have all these extra banana breads to snack on until I find a solution!

  7. says

    Ali, these biscuits, as with everything you post, look amazing. We head to the mountains tomorrow night and these will be the perfect post-skiing treat to accompany chili or stew or soup. My holiday entertaining tip for this year has been to employ the potluck method — instead of turning down people’s offers to bring something, I have been taking them up on it — one or two fewer dishes to cook really makes preparing for a party more relaxing and easy. The other thing I do is to only serve items that can be almost entirely prepared in advance. A few minutes of cooking or baking is fine, but I like to have most of the dishes and cooking done before the day of the event.

    Merry Christmas!

    • says

      Darcy, I love this idea. You know, I have gotten to be the same way, too. I used to be such a freak about wanting to make everything myself, and now I find it so much fun to see what other people make, and it definitely makes things less stressful. Love it.

  8. TK says

    The biscuits look so good and the mustard sauce sounds amazing with the ham!
    My tip for entertaining is that a great presentation can jazz up the table and make your basic dishes seem a bit fancier. Maybe try a colorful centerpiece or some patterned dishware. For a soup, try laying out different toppings in little bowls or plates so everyone can flavor their own bowl. I think entertaining should be fun and non-stressful for everybody.

  9. lizzie says

    Definitely making everything on this page. A tip for re-rolling dough. Dont scrunch it up but lay the pieces gently on top of one another and roll out and let rest for a bit – might work for the last delish bits of biscuit dough.
    Love everything about your blog – still reeling from the wonderful granola recipe.
    I make yeast raised waffles overnight in the fridge – does that count ?
    Happy Holidays.

  10. says

    I made these biscuits yesterday and they were fabulous. I featured them on my blog with the recipe slightly adapted to suit British measurements. Thank you so much for your beautiful recipes and photographs. I shall be making your glogg recipe tomorrow.

    • says

      Sue, I’m so happy to hear this! Thanks so much for writing in! I hope the glogg turns out well for you. Where in England are you? My dad is from Portsmouth and still has a flat there. Also, when I first started this blog, I was obsessed with quince! I’ll be checking in on you for sure. Happy New Year!

  11. says

    Alexandra, I didn’t get round to the glogg -it’s been so mild here in Worcester, UK that no one wanted a hot drink. I shall save it for a snowy day. instead we drank my homemade quince vodka with ice and tonic.

  12. says

    Made these today too (after making a couple of your breads last week/this past weekend). They are awesome!! I think I spread the dough a little thinner than yours – but that’s fine, just more of them, lol. The hubby LOVED them, and said this was a winner for sure.

    About the salt – we thought it was a perfect amount, I used sea salt, but I also used 2% cheese and unsalted butter, so maybe that made a difference? either way, amazing!

    • says

      Lisa, you are too funny…I’m loving all of your comments. I think I actually made mine a little too big, so yours were probably just right. And I’m glad you didn’t find them too salty. We didn’t either, but I am definitely a salt person. Thanks for writing in!

  13. Mary says

    Just wanted to let you know how much my family loves these delicious (and wonderfully easy) biscuits. We have them at least once a month, and my husband and daughter would eat them far more often if I would make them. Thank you so much for this, and all your great recipes.

  14. Trish says

    Ali, these biscuits are so good!!! I was looking at your Super Bowl recipes and came across these. I am so glad I did! I reduced the kosher salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons and it was just right for us. Since it was a recipe you recommended, I knew they would be good, so I cut them into squares as to not waste any of it. That ended up being a good thing! Our lab was looking up at me with those big brown eyes and I almost didn’t share with him, :)
    We made fried egg and ham sandwiches with these. Just finished with breakfast and had to write you. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • says

      I don’t know! Isn’t that terrible? I think my mom gave them to me. I just did a google search and can’t find anything similar, and there is no mark on the cutters. I will keep my eye out for you for something similar.

      • Charlsey G says

        Hahaha! That is awesome. That means you must treasure them, as they are so rare. Thanks for the search! I will keep looking, too:)

  15. Karen DelGrosso says

    Just made your mustard sauce to serve with xmas ham, it is fabulous….is it served hot along with dinner or cold with leftovers? Or both? So easy to make.

  16. Jen says

    So I made these once before and I though they were super good. I just doubled the recipe to make for a party and the salt was off the chain! Almost inedible. I don’t know how doubling this altered the salt level so much. I guess te trick is only one batch at a time

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