Everything Cream Cheese Biscuits: These tender, flaky, crunchy, flavorful biscuits are fabulous alone, or paired with anything! Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Do we really want to fuss with making homemade tomato soup? Oh yes, we do, especially when the results are as delicious and budget-friendly as this is. Imagine how amazing this soup will taste after coming in from romping in (or shoveling) snow this winter.

The roasted flavor and crunchy cheese crouton is so satisfying, as is the option of prepping the soup a day ahead to reheat and cheese-ify on the morrow. We wouldn’t want to wear ourselves out in one go!

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

And oh, my goodness, these biscuits are “to die for.” They go well with the soup and with everything else, for that matter. They are stellar when slathered with whipped cream cheese, but that’s not why they’re called Everything Cream Cheese Biscuits. There’s cream cheese in the dough (along with butter and buttermilk) and that makes these gems extra tender and flaky inside while the seed, garlic and onion coating makes the outside especially crunchy and flavorful.

Of course, you can just use your store-bought Everything Bagel Mix that everyone has in their pantry, but remember, you have the right to make the mix your way with proportions you choose, so never be shy about that.

These biscuits can simply be buttered and devoured while piping hot, or served with soup, your morning eggs, used for a sandwich or baked into mini biscuits for an appetizer. Believe me, they are everything you could ever want, and then some.

Because these are best fresh from the oven, if you don’t think you’ll eat the whole dozen in one sitting (tempting, I know) the dough can be kept in the fridge for a day or two to bake later, or you can freeze dough dollops then thaw slightly and dip in the seed mixture when you’re ready for more. And trust me, you will want more.

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar

2 (28-ounce) cans whole high-quality tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle more

2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme

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1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup onion or shallots, minced

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

A few pinches of red pepper flakes

4 (1-inch thick) slices firm bread

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

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Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour tomatoes into a strainer set over a bowl and use a fork or squeeze them with your hands to break them open so that they release all their juices. Reserve juice and set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and spread the tomatoes in the pan. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Wrap the garlic cloves tightly in foil with a few drops of olive oil and place the packet in the roasting pan with the tomatoes.

Roast tomatoes and garlic for 30-35 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated, tomatoes begin to color and garlic is tender.

Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté shallots or onions until translucent, for 3-5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, 3 cups of the reserved juices, stock, garlic squeezed from its skin, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Cook with lid slightly ajar for 20-25 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender or food processor) to blend the soup to desired texture.

Heat the broiler and arrange four ovenproof mugs on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Divide soup between the mugs and top with bread and grated cheese. Cook under the broiler until cheese is melted and browned, for 1-2 minutes.

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Yield: 4 servings

Everything Cream Cheese Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

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4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 cup cold buttermilk (or 1 teaspoon white vinegar stirred into 1 cup milk)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter and cream cheese into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, mixing until it becomes the texture of wet sand. Add in buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Drop the dough by spoonsful into the seed mixture. Roll dough around to cover with seed mixture on all sides. (There will be extra left over to sprinkle on more after baking if desired.)

Place on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

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Yield: 12 biscuits

Seasoning

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

2 teaspoons dried minced garlic

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

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