Salty, cheesy, flakey, sweet, tangy, vibrant, amazing—this biscuit + jam dream-team has it all.
Credit: Chadwick Boyd

The best brunch dishes are those that look/taste impressive, but (unbeknownst to your guests) were shockingly simple to pull together before they arrived. As in, recipes that pack a load of lively, well-balanced flavors and can be prepped partially, if not completely, in advance. Chadwick Boyd, of Lovely & Delicious Living and host of Reel Food, is no stranger to this concept, and with a recent visit to our test kitchens, he gave us a crash course in how to vamp up one of his all-time favorite comfort foods for any occasion—biscuits. Being something of a pro biscuit connoisseur (Boyd is an active contributor to organizing the annual International Biscuit Festival), Boyd loves to experiment with creative riffs and upgrades on the classic flakey Southern breakfast staple.

One of the most genius innovations Boyd shared is using plain Greek yogurt in his biscuits in place of the traditionally called for buttermilk. Why? Well, Greek yogurt provides a similar tangy richness, but it’s an ingredient that an average household would actually have in the fridge on any given week. (If you’re regularly stocking buttermilk at home, by all means, more power to ya.) One key detail Boyd says to keep in mind with this trick is that you want to use whole milk Greek yogurt—as opposed to low-fat—because a huge part of what makes a great biscuit is the presence of fat. In terms of flavor, Boyd boosts the biscuits featured below in 4 delicious ways:

  1. Plenty of savory, nutty grated Parmesan cheese.
  2. A generous sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper in the dough.
  3. Finishing the biscuits with a pinch of high-quality flake salt, such as Maldon.
  4. And complimenting all of this cheesy, savory, dynamic flavor with a sophisticated (but simple) fresh Watermelon Spoon Jam, which brings a touch of sweetness and delicate herbaceous energy to party.

Boyd’s Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits are a breeze to whip up the day you want to enjoy them, and the Watermelon Jam should be made at least 1 day in advance, allowing for a simply elegant and throughly satisfying brunch spread to happen, with no stress required. And that, my friends, is what summer brunching is all about.

Credit: Chadwick Boyd, host of "Reel Food," the new food series at the movies

Chadwick Boyd, host of "Reel Food," the new food series at the movies

Parmesan Black Pepper Biscuits

Recipe by Chadwick Boyd
Copyright © 2017 Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc.

Yield: 12-15 biscuits


  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, grated on microplane
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, grated (keep very cold until using), plus 2 tablespoons melted to finish
  • 2 cups whole milk, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
  • Maldon or Kosher salt (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cheese. Whisk again until fully incorporated.

3. Add the butter and work into the dough using your hands until it forms pea-sized crumbles. Add the yogurt. Gently mix with hands until the dough starts to come together. Pour the milk one tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes moist but not wet (you don't want any dry pieces in the bowl). You may not need all 3 tablespoons.

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured clean surface and pat out into a rectangle to 1-inch thickness. Cut the biscuits into 2-inch squares using a chef's knife.

5.Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the melted butter. Lightly sprinkle with the Maldon or Kosher salt.

6. Bake at 450°F for 14 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Turn the baking sheet halfway through baking to ensure even browning.

7. Transfer to a wire rack. Let rest 7-8 minutes before serving.

Watermelon Spoon Jam

Recipe by Chadwick Boyd
Copyright © 2017 Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc.

This spoon jam is relatively easy to make, but there is one important trick involved – bring the pot with the fruit to a slow simmer on low heat to start. If the watermelon gets too hot too fast, it will draw the water out from the watermelon cubes and the jam turn into a thin syrup. Low and slow is your friend. White balsamic vinegar is used instead of typical lemon juice, which gives this spoon jam a more sophisticated flavor. Fresh herbs bring it all together. I like tarragon, but sweet basil or thyme are wonderful, too. Keep in the refrigerator up to one week.

Yield: 1½ pints


  • 4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon + 1 cup cubes of rind (outer skin peeled)
    *If using one pound mini watermelon, peel off the outer skin and use 5 cups of cubed watermelon with rind
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pinch or two of Kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon


1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot and bring to slow bubble on medium heat, 7-10 minutes. Mash slightly with the back of a wooden spoon to break the pieces up slightly. Turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. The jam should be somewhat thick. Remove from the heat. Stir in the herbs and let cool. Pour into a glass jar, cover with plastic wrap and let settle overnight. Seal with a lid to keep fresh. The jam will last about 1 week.

By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz