New Year’s Goodies

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are just a few days away. Ham Biscuits and Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Poppers are both tasty additions to your holiday celebration.

Ham biscuits are a staple of Southern celebrations. Traditionally, biscuits are cut in half and layered with flavorful country ham. These days, some cooks have adopted an easy shortcut: adding chopped ham (and cheese, if you please) right to the soft biscuit dough, then simply dropping the dough onto a baking sheet, rather than rolling and cutting it. The result: a tasty, all-in-one breakfast or brunch treat.

Ham biscuits are suitable for any occasion, from elegant to down-home. For that reason they’re often found on the sideboard or table on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Ham Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons Watkins Baking Powder or Watkins Cream of Tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Watkins Mustard Powder, optional
¼ teaspoon Watkins Onion Powder, optional
½ cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
1 cup finely diced ham
1 cup grated or shredded cheddar cheese, with additional for topping, if desired
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cups cold milk

1) Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (for easy cleanup); if you don’t use parchment, there’s no need to grease the pan.

2) Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

3) Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly; some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter may remain intact.

4) Add the ham and cheese, stirring until well distributed.

5) Add the milk, mixing until everything is moistened.

6) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (a silicone mat works well), and fold it over once or twice. Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a ¾”-thick circle, about 6″ across.

7) Cut the biscuits with a 2″ round cutter, or the cutter of your choice. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.

8) Brush the biscuit tops with milk or melted butter. Sprinkle with grated or shredded cheese, if desired.

9) Bake the biscuits for 6 minutes, then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

10) Remove from the oven, and serve warm; as is, or with butter.

Yield: about 2 dozen big 2″ biscuits.

To make drop biscuits, drizzle in enough additional milk, as you’re mixing the biscuit dough, to make the dough sticky: about 4 to 5 tablespoons milk should do it. Drop the dough by 1/4-cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Adjust baking time to make smaller bite size biscuits.

There’s no faster way to get a party started than with these bacon-wrapped poppers. Make them ahead and bake just before serving.

Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Poppers
6 jalapeno peppers
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, halved widthwise
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili seasoning

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cheeses until blended. Spoon into pepper halves.

Wrap a half-strip of bacon around each pepper half.

Combine brown sugar and chili seasoning; coat peppers with sugar mixture. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until bacon is firm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Cook bacon slightly before making poppers.
Bake poppers on a rack for more even cooking.

Happy New Year!

Eleisia Whitney
Independent Watkins Manager

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