Breads & Biscuits

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Rosemary Cheese Crackers

Most every Southerner has a favorite recipe for cheese biscuits, cheese crackers, or cheese straws, those staples of holiday gifting and year-round entertaining. With the addition of rosemary and chile peppers, I give this version of these buttery crackers unexpected heat and flavor that makes them extra habit-forming. Serve topped with fresh goat cheese and pepper jelly along with a round or two of Sazeracs, Wendy’s Bloody Marys, or shake it up with a Salty Dog. The dough for these crackers can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to bake and serve. Once baked, the crackers can be frozen and then reheated in the oven for a few minutes before serving—great for unexpected company.

Rosemary Focaccia

This bread is great for sandwiches or with soup or salads, or for dinner instead of a traditional roll. For tailgating or picnics, you can use the entire focaccia to make festive sandwiches as follows: Using a serated knife, slice the entire focaccia through the center to form two rounds. Place sandwich fillings on the cut side of the bottom half of the focaccia, then top with the remaining focaccia round. Slice the entire round into pie-shaped wedges.

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Salt and Pepper Skillet Cornbread

Some Southerners will happily argue till they are blue in the face defending the honor of unsweetened cornbread, a preference that tends to divide the South from the North. But I find that a touch of sugar adds a layer of complexity that is well worth breaking the rules. More important to me is the baking vessel: specifically, a cast-iron skillet, preferably one that is slicked with bacon grease.

Skillet Cornbread

This cornbread is delicious warm, with sweet butter. To use it for panzanella, allow the bread to cool completely before cutting it into cubes. You can also make the cornbread a day in advance, letting it dry out a bit before turning it into panzanella.


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Summer Corn Cakes WithChopped Tomato And Avocado Salsa

The contrasting flavors, textures, and colors make this vibrant summertime dish a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. It is tops served with a fried egg for breakfast, and you can turn it into a filling lunch or dinner by scattering the cakes with grilled shrimp or chicken breast.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits

I give the method for baking a sweet potato in this recipe, but the truth is that leftover sweet potatoes, like Orange-Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes, are invariably what inspire me to make these. In a perfect world, I eat them warm topped with maple Sweetened Butter.

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Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

Spoon bread is like a cross between grits and cornbread, with a lovely dense, pudding-like texture set off by cornmeal’s fine grain. I don’t need an excuse to bring sweet potatoes into the mix- I’ve been known to add them to just about everything- but in this case they reinforce the silky texture of the spoon bread in addition to adding their characteristic orange color and mild, sweet flavor