Sweet Potato Biscuits
Many ways. And I hope that all of you do too! I have discovered that there are really two kinds of people out there. Those who ate sweet potatoes growing up and those who didn’t. I, you may be surprised to learn, did not grow up eating sweet potatoes. I think I had them a time or two, smothered in melted marshmallows at my aunt’s house at Christmas time. Of course, I loved them. Who wouldn’t love a thick, creamy, unidentifiable orange vegetable, sweet as candy and and covered in melted sugar goo?! Seconds please!! While I always considered myself a sweet potato lover, this was really the extent of my experience. We didn’t eat them in our house and now that I think about it, I am really not sure why. I should ask my parents one of these days.
I was introduced to sweet potatoes by a close friend who is originally from southern Mississippi. At the time, we were living in Hawaii because out husbands were assigned to the same nuclear submarine. When you are thousands of miles away from your family (and most of the time apart from your spouse as well), any little bit of home is welcome. The first time she made her Granny’s Sweet Potato Casserole, it was a revelation. It was outrageously good, as most food made by southern women is, and remains one of my favorite ways to eat them But what really struck me was that she made them with fresh sweet potatoes. Everyone else I knew just dumped them out of a can. When I mentioned this to her, her jaw dropped. In the south, I was told, they are so common they sell them on the side of the road in paper grocery bags. In more recent years, I have become profoundly grateful for this, as she frequently brings back several pounds for me when she makes the trip home.
So on that fateful day in Hawaii, I was hooked. She taught me how to buy them-no large blemishes or moldy spots, nice and firm-and how to eat them. I have been making them dozens of ways ever since. This is one of my favorite creations. Sweet Potato Biscuits
Sweet potatoes are a bright, versatile tuber that contain a wealth of nutrients. If you haven’t experimented with them lately, this time of year is perfect. They are cheap, plentiful in the super markets, and recipes for inspiration abound! There is a reason they are the favorite first food of babies everywhere! Feel free to use pumpkin or squash in place of the potatoes if you like.
Lightly butter or spray an eight inch round cake pan.
In a medium bowl mix together:
2 c flour
2 T brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Using a pastry blender, food processor, or two knives, cut in 6 T cold, unsalted butter that has been cut into small chunks. Once the butter is the size of small peas, add:
1 c mashed sweet potato & 1/2 c low fat buttermilk, mixed together
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix lightly with a fork. Using clean hands, continue to mix dough with your fingers, just until everything is incorporated and dough starts to come together in a ball. DO NOT OVER MIX. The less you handle the dough, the more tender your biscuits will be. This dough will be very sticky. Dust your hands with more flour as needed when handling the dough. At this point you could roll and cut the biscuits, but I rarely do this due to time and mess. Especially for this recipe. I recommend dividing the dough into 7 equal parts (just eyeball it), patting each of them gently into a disc, and snuggling them into the greased cake pan. They will hold each other up as they rise. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the biscuits are firm. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. These are incredible plain, but with honey or apple butter, they become absolutely fabulous.
Note: You can make mashed sweet potatoes several ways. Bake or microwave the potatoes and then scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork. You can also peel the sweet potatoes, cut into chunks and then steam them. I usually don’t like to boil the potatoes for this recipe because it adds too much moisture, but use your own judgement.
Honorable mention: These are great for brunch. To make them really over the top, add 1/2 c finely chopped cooked bacon and one green onion, diced.