Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits

As you may remember me saying before I am not a true Southerner. I know, I have lived my whole life South of the Mason/Dixon line, but I am still not a true Southerner. I was raised by a Northerner and a Midwestern. I know Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, jello salads, and casseroles. Southern food still beguiles me. Frying food---can be done only on occasion, okra--no thanks, black-eyed peas and the likes--you can have them, biscuits--as flat as flat can be.

I knew these wouldn't rise from the moment I made them. I had to cook sweet potatoes and mash them for the recipe and I didn't start far enough in advance. As I looked at my steaming mass of mashed sweet potatoes, I knew that if that mound of orange didn't cool off quickly my biscuits were in big trouble. I put the sweet potatoes in the fridge, but wasn't able to cool them off fast enough. All my butter melted into the potatoes as I stirred and I knew. Flat biscuits once again.

The positive side--the biscuits still tasted good and the texture wasn't terrible. They weren't tough like some biscuits I've made or overwhelmingly dry. I liked them. So did my kids and husband so they weren't a total bomb. They just didn't have that nice rise and flakiness that good biscuits are supposed to have.

Learn from my the sweet potatoes thoroughly before starting the recipe. This will recipe will make 15 - 18 biscuits depending on the size of your biscuit cutter (which if you don't have, a drinking glass--upside down--works great).

Sweet Potato Biscuits
adapted From Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (totally worth it!! buy whole nutmeg in the bulk spice section and grate using a fine microplaner like you would for orange zest)
2 T packed light brown sugar
6 T butter, cold, cut into small pieces
3/4 - 1 c mashed sweet potatoes

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add the brown sugar and stir to be sure there are no lumps. Drop in the flour, and using your fingers, combine the butter into the flour. Work quickly so the butter doesn't get too warm. Don't worry if the texture isn't consistent. Don't over stir, you should have lumps the size of oatmeal or peas. Stir in the sweet potatoes briefly with a fork until you have a nice soft dough. Give the dough a quick, gentle kneading, about 3-4 turns just to bring the dough into a round mass. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat until it is 1/2" thick. Using a biscuit cutter or the rim of glass, cut the dough into circles and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or well oiled. Work the scraps as little as possible and cut more biscuits until all the dough is used.

Bake in a preheated 425 degrees oven for 14 - 18 minutes. Let cool 10 - 15 minutes before serving. These supposedly are better after they cool. We wouldn't know. They went quickly.

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