Sweet. Potato. Biscuits.
There is nothing much to say about the amazing biscuits that is not said in their name – Sweet Potato Biscuits. I am not a fan of biscuits… and yes, I was born and raised in the south. Yes, I had grandmothers and great-grandmothers who made biscuits from scratch…. and a great-aunt who performed this magical alchemy of flour and fat with deft of hand as well. However, I just never warmed up to the texture of this moist doughy quick bread even with lashings of butter and spoons of preserves or jam. Toast, yes please.
My disdain for biscuits changed once the earthy yumminess of sweet potato joined in the fun. I love sweet potatoes (in all ways except candied or in sweet potato pie – still Southern!). Here is the part where I can tell you all of the great nutritional facts about sweet potatoes. I include that sweet potatoes are a wealth of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and a generous amount of fiber, especially if you eat their skin as well. I warn that copious amounts of butter and brown sugar can ruin the delicate flavor of the sweet potato. I will wax… sweet potatoes are great in savory preparations and go well with rosemary, thyme, chilies, peanuts, soy, and goat cheese – I can go on and on. On the other hand, we can open up the argument on whether the tuber is an actually a sweet potato or a yam; but, none of that is going to get the sweet potato biscuits made, on the table, and in your mouth.
Some quick notes to ensure success:
The flavor of sweet potato intensifies when roasted and they taste so much better than boiling sweet potatoes. Roast the sweet potatoes the day before or use leftover roasted sweet potatoes, just make sure they are chill. Also, roasting is a better way to manage the water content of the dough.
Managing the moisture content is another key to success. Moisture in the sweet potatoes will vary depending on the sweet potato. If the dough is on the dry side, add a few tablespoons of water to bring the dough together. If the dough is on the wet side, add a few tablespoons of flour to make the down firm. Practice makes perfect on getting the proper texture.
Start with very cold sweet potato mash, buttermilk, and butter. This will ensure flakiness when the cold biscuits go into the hot oven. The butter will melt, releasing steam inside the dough and creating layers flakiness.
To measure the ingredients, use a scale. This is the most accurate way to measure for baking and accuracy is important to manage the moisture and to ensure a light and flakey texture rather than dense and flat.
In conclusion, on the longest quick notes, DO NOT OVER MIX THE DOUGH. It is perfectly okay to see streaks of butter and bits of sweet potato in the dough.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
yield: 12 – 14 2” round biscuits
6.7 oz roasted sweet potatoes, mashed and chilled
2.8 oz buttermilk, chilled
8.8 oz flour, all purpose
1 T baking powder
3 T sugar, granulated
½ t kosher salt
2.5 oz butter, unsalted, cold, and cut into small cubes
melted butter, optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside
Preheat oven to 400-degrees
Combine all dry ingredients
If the dough is too moist and sticky, add a little more flour, in tablespoon increments until you achieve a dryer dough
If the dough is dry, add a little more water or buttermilk, in tablespoon increments until you achieve a more supple dough
Pour dough onto work surface dusted with a little flour; knead dough until the dough just comes together, approximately 6 – 8 times – DO NOT OVER MIX.
Roll or pat out to 1” in thickness
Cut into desired shape using a cutter; place biscuits on prepared baking sheet
Bake for 12 – 13 minutes or until risen and golden brown
Transfer to cooling rack
Brush with melted butter, if desired
To make vegan sweet potato biscuits, substitute the butter with vegan margarine or vegetable shortening. Substitute the buttermilk with soymilk and a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.
Once you master making sweet potato biscuits, get super fancy, and personalize it with a few add-ins. Add fresh chopped rosemary, rosemary, toasted pecans, and/or orange zest, to the dry ingredients for a twist. Before baking, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper or even add the cracked black pepper to the dough.
Just keep them simple and serve with or without lashings of butter and preserves or jam – and enjoy the redemptive qualities of the sweet potato in a southern staple.
always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!