Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I've been wanting to make these for a while, but 5 weeks of bronchitis held me back. I kept thinking about flour and my germs flying all over the place, because I knew I'd be coughing while I tried to bake.

So I'm sorry it took me a few days to get this post out. These biscuits were simple to make--just like regular baking powder biscuits, the only addition being a couple of spices and roasted, mashed sweet potato. Roasted the sweet potato brings out all its flavor, and natural sweetness.

If you don't have a biscuit cutter, a clean drinking glass or 15 ounce soup can will work just fine. Try these biscuits with a bowl of soup, or roasted pork, grilled chicken, or just some butter and honey. You'll see I made a double batch in the pictures, but one batch makes about 12 biscuits.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 medium sweet potato (about 14 ounces)
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for patting and cutting biscuits
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 black pepper
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prick the sweet potato in several areas, and place on a foil-line baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are completely soft.

When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin (it should come off very easily), and mash the flesh in a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk until well combined, and set aside.

David has discovered a wholesale spice store, Penzeys just down the street from his new office. I've already gotten smoked paprika, Mexican vanilla, whole coriander, and whole nutmeg, thanks to my darling husband :-). I used my microplane grater to grate the nutmeg. I'd heard freshly grated nutmeg was better than ground, and is. It smells so amazing too! Here's what whole nutmeg looks like, in case you were wondering.

Back to baking! In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Now we need to incorporate our fat. I usually cut the butter up, and put it in the fridge while I'm gathering the dry ingredients, so it stays good and cold until I'm ready for it.

I should mention you can use a food processor to combine the butter and the dry ingredients, but I love to mix dough by hand...getting my hands dirty makes me feel like a real baker ;-).

Using a pastry cutter, 2 knives, or your hands, gently work the butter into the flour mixture. Overworking the dough will make your biscuits tough, so use a light tough. It should look like cornmeal, with pieces of butter no bigger than a pea scattered throughout.

Now gently work the mashed sweet potatoes in until the dough comes together, kneading it a few times if necessary...

when it's all done, it should be a pale, orange color...and rather sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and pat it out to about 1 inch high...this will make nice, high biscuits. At this point, you can preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Using a 2 1/2 inch round, dip it in some flour, and cut out the biscuits. It's important to push down firmly and lift the cutter straight back up, without twisting. This helps the biscuits rise nicely while they bake. Don't forget to dip the cutter into your flour after each cut.

Place the dough rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Push the dough scraps back together, again...try not to overwork the dough, and continue to cut out biscuits until all the dough is used up.

Bake the biscuits at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown and deep brown on the bottom.

These biscuits taste best just slightly warm...the kids loved them with some butter and honey ;-).

I hope you give these a try...they're a really nice change from the usual. And...they smell FANTASTIC coming out of the oven. Gabriel hung around the kitchen for a good 10 minutes after the first batch was done, hoping and begging for a taste...and of course, Mommy obliged!

God bless your table tonight!

1 comment:

May said...

These biscuits are delicious! I didn't have any nutmeg, but they still turned out really well. This recipe is another family fave!