Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Biscuits

So I don't know if you know this, but there's legislation in Congress that aims to stop piracy on the interwebs called SOPA.  It's kind of a big deal because it can have much bigger repercussions than I think the legislators realize.  Some are calling it an attempt to censor the Internet.  At any rate, Wikipedia has gone dark in an effort to protest this legislation.  And, y'all, it is causing the biggest freakout among young people since the last time Facebook changed its layout.  Twitter is just abuzz with "How am I gonna do my homework, OMG?!" tweets.  Um, maybe the old-fashioned way.  Like with a book.

I used a book to create these little delights.
Sweet potato biscuits.  Little orange pillows sweetened slightly with maple syrup.  Add a little maple butter?  Heaven.  A little bacon in the middle?  Sinful.  You can eat these at dinner or for breakfast.  I had one as a snack yesterday afternoon because, um, they had to be tested, right?

It's a pretty straightforward recipe.  All-purpose flour, butter, a sweet potato, baking powder, salt, maple syrup, and milk.  This is great if you've got a leftover sweet potato.  I just baked mine in a 400º oven for  about an hour.  You could also peel it and boil it.
Whisk together the flour baking soda and salt in a medium or large bowl.
Add the butter in cubes and prepare to cut it in.
Cut the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it looks like a coarse meal.  I like to stick the bowl in the freezer during periods I'm not using it just to make sure it all stays cold.
Mash up the sweet potato and add the milk and maple syrup.  Give 'im a whisk.
Buh-bam.  It can be a little lumpy.  No bigs.
Add the sweet potato mixture to the flour and fold it in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it's just combined.  Now you're going to add a little more milk just to moisten it and bring it all together.
Turn that business out onto a lightly floured surface.  Give it a couple of good kneads.  It doesn't need much, just 3 or 4.
Pat it out to about 1/2" thick.  That's right, no rolling pin required.  Keepin' it simple here, folks.
Use a 2.5" or 3" biscuit cutter (or glass) to cut out about 9 pretty biscuits + 1 funky one you patted out from scraps.  You'll have to re-roll (or re-pat rather) the dough once to get all the biscuits.  I don't recommend rolling out more than that or you'll run the risk of tough biscuits.  Another tip for biscuit cutting it to just press the biscuit cutter straight down.  Don't twist it.  Twisting will keep it from rising up as much, and these are kind of short biscuits to begin with.
Put all your biscuits on a greased baking sheet.  And no, I didn't photograph my hunchback biscuit.  Bake in a 425º oven for 12-14 minutes.
See, they're not super tall, but they are plenty tender inside.
Crack one open while it's warm and spread some maple butter in there.  Maple butter = maple syrup + butter.
These will make a meal special.  Warm and flaky.  Just a hint of sweetness to them.

Sweet Potato Biscuits (makes 9 biscuits)
Adapted from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible

3/4 c sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/3 to 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 tbs + 1/2 tsp maple syrup
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

  • Preheat oven to 425º.  Grease a baking sheet with the lubricant of your choice (spray, butter, etc.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato, 1/3 c milk, and maple syrup.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Fold in the sweet potato mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.  Add the rest of the milk a little at a time until the mixture is just moistened enough to come together.  You might not use all of it depending on the moisture content of your sweet potato.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead it 3 or 4 times, just to bring it together.  Pat it into a 1/2" thick round.  Using a 2.5" or 3" biscuit cutter (or a glass in a pinch), cut out as many biscuits as you can.  Re-pat the dough scraps and cut more biscuits.  Place all the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until firm to the touch and a light golden brown.  Serve with maple butter if desired, warm or room temperature.

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