Black Pepper, Date& Blue Date Biscuits

Makes 12 to 14 biscuits

Freshly baked, homemade biscuits are far more achievable than you think. Other than a sturdy cast-iron skillet, this buttery pull-apart version doesn’t require any special equipment. Here, the dough is studded with chunks of sun-sweetened medjool dates, robust blue cheese, fresh chives and copious amounts of black pepper. As you work the dough, the gooey dates melt into the dough creating caramel-colored striations. Serve these biscuits fresh out of the oven with softened butter and more flaky sea salt for sprinkling.

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed (plus 2 Tablespoons melted butter for greasing and brushing
  • ½ cup pitted and chopped Rancho Meladuco Medjool Dates (3 to 4 dates)
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon minced chives 
  • 1¼ cups cold buttermilk
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, black pepper and salt. Add the cold cubed butter and, using your fingertips, blend in the butter until pea-size pieces form. Add the chopped dates, blue cheese and chives and toss to coat in the flour, breaking up any clumps of dates or blue cheese. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the cold buttermilk. Stir until a shaggy dough forms. 

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface. Dump the dough out onto the plastic wrap and shape into a large round. Fold the dough over itself and shape into a round again. Repeat this step one more time. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and brush a 12-inch cast iron skillet with half of the melted butter. Remove the biscuit dough from the refrigerator and lightly dust your work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin or your hands, roll or press the dough out into a 1-inch thick round. Using a 2 to 2½-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out rounds and arrange them so they’re almost touching in the skillet. Gather and pat out the scraps and stamp out the last few biscuits. You should have 12 to 14 biscuits. Brush the tops with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more black pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The biscuit dough can be refrigerated overnight. 

Recipe and photos by Julia Heffelfinger

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