Biscuits are notoriously fussy. Good ones, at least! This recipe combines the best traits of the temperamental (but ever-loved) butter biscuit and the cream biscuit. The flavor is clean and milky, the tops are crisped and buttery, and the crumb is oh-so-delicate.
You do still have to be careful not to overmix at two important points while making this biscuit: when adding the butter and cream cheese, and especially when adding the liquid. This recipe has very little liquid. Although many great bakers suggest transferring the flour and butter mixture to a bowl and then adding any liquid, you don't need that extra step in this recipe.
The reason great bakers suggest the extra bowl is simple: It can help prevent overmixing, which definitely dooms any biscuit to a toughness it doesn't deserve. In this recipe, with so little liquid, you can use the food processor all the way, but please, be judicious about that last mixing. You are not looking for a wet dough, for it to form a ball, or be gunky. It just has to barely be combined — enough to mostly clump together loosely. You will be scooping the mixture and patting it into a rectangular shape, which will allow you to mix it a bit more if need be to make it into a single mass.
The upshot? With this recipe, don't worry and don't overmix, and you will be making great biscuits in no time.
One-Bowl Cream Cheese Biscuits
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy cream
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened and at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly flour a work surface. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and process in 4 to 5 (1-second) pulses to combine and aerate.
Add the chilled butter and process in 5 to 6 (1-second) pulses. There will be large pieces of butter in the mixture; fear not, you will be pulsing it again in a moment.
Add the cream cheese and process in 5 to 6 (1-second) pulses until there are still plenty of visible pieces of butter and cream cheese, but not very large pieces. It will not be a coherent dough at all; it will be slightly damp, but will not hold together. Do not overmix.
Add the heavy cream and process in 4 to 5 (1/2-second) pulses — yes, they're really quick! — until the mixture becomes irregularly sized clumps, large and small, but does not form a ball.
Scoop the mixture onto the prepared work surface and gently pat into a 10- by 4-inch rectangle that is 1 3/4 inches thick. Cut into 10 (2-inch) squares and arrange on the prepared pan.
Using a pastry brush, gently smear the top of each biscuit with the softened butter — just to cover but not saturate the dough.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the tops are a warm brown.
Cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, until the biscuits are cool enough to touch, and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. These are best served the day they are made.