Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Potato Biscuits for the New Year

I love holiday parties. Why? Because they involve celebrating the holidays and, well, it's a party. I don't see what's not to like. Also, I have to say that as a foodie, I especially enjoy parties not for the social scene, but for the food sharing. The idea of friends getting together to share dishes that they enjoy... it's just very heartwarming. After all, food is love.

So for a holiday party at my cousin's house, I decide to make some sweet potato biscuits. I made these for my family for Christmas, and they were a hit. Healthy, delicious, and fairly easy to make.

The thing I love about this recipe is that it is so forgiving. And that's important in a recipe during the holiday season. No one wants to work with a cranky recipe, a fussy recipe, a recipe that demands a lot of work and an exacting amount of attention. No. We like the easy-going recipes during the holidays. The recipes that we can let our six-year-old nephews help out with, without fear that the end result will be disastrous.

So here is it: a biscuit recipe that requires no rolling pin, no biscuit cutters, no specified number of times to be kneaded. This biscuit could win the "Best Biscuit of All Time" award just for that alone.


It is also delicious. It is sweet and nourishing and the slightly crumbly, but also bread-y texture of it is the perfect foil to your holiday ham, turkey, or (as we do in my house) rosemary chicken. Enjoy!

Sweet-Potato Biscuits

5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbs light-brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
6 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
18 Tbs chilled salted butter
2 ¼ cups chilled sweet potato puree (read: peeled, boiled, and pureed sweet potatoes)
1 cup buttermilk (read: 1 cup milk with juice from ¼ lime, sit at room temp)
extra butter for brushing the tops of the biscuits

Make the buttermilk if needed (let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes).

Boil the sweet potatoes (about 4-5 medium ones), peel, and chop. Allow to cool before pureeing. Combine with buttermilk.

In a DRY food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Once combined, cut in the chilled butter and pulse till mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine the dry flour mix with the wet sweet potato mix. Do not overmix.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

With floured hands, roughly knead and shape the dough into large balls (about the size of a fist). Arrange the biscuits snugly into one 8x13 inch pan and on 9x9 inch pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, brush with butter again. Rotate pans and bake for 5 more minutes. Total bake time about 20-24 minutes. Makes about 20 large biscuits.

Note: If 20 biscuits is too much for you, after the biscuits cool, you can put them in a ziplock bag and FREEZE them. They taste delicious defrosted and toasted.
Also, I have never actually made this recipe with buttermilk. It seems too much of a hassle to go out and buy some, so I just make it with milk and lime juice. Works every time!