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the savory first

November 08 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Bread,Recipe,Side » 20 comments

Sweet Potato Biscuits

It’s the time of year when my thoughts are monopolized by Thanksgiving.  I dig out old November issues from my food magazine archives (which are getting out of hand, despite the fact that my Gourmet pile has stopped growing).  I flip through photos of Thanksgivings-past.  I compile a recipe index for this site.  I stock the spice cupboard with cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice.  I fill the freezer with to-be-rolled-out pie dough.  I select a dress for the day and make a mental note to pack yoga pants for the cozy, post-dinner portion of the day.  I read up on turkey varieties and new techniques for preparing the bird.

Sweet Potato BiscuitsSweet Potato Biscuits

And, of course, I start to test out recipes.  This year is no different, even though I’m not hosting this year (unlike last year), but rather pitching in in my parents’ kitchen.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Last weekend, two test recipes passed through my kitchen.  One sweet, one savory—and winners, both.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, leave some room on that menu I know you’re dreaming up!)  As is the case on the holiday itself, we’ll endure the savory first, before getting on to the sweet.  But the silver lining is this: this savory recipe has a subtle undertow of sweetness.  It’ll hold you over until we get to the sweet recipe later this week (hint!), I guarantee it.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

The sweetness in these biscuits—rustic little pull-apart numbers, which are baked in a cast-iron skillet, nestled in close to each other—comes from the addition of mashed sweet potato, which also gives off a faintly-autumnal hue.  Tucked into wicker baskets, lined with linen napkins, these biscuits will be right at home perched on the corners of my parents’ table this Thanksgiving.  If I know my step-dad, he’ll insist (despite my most persuasive protestations) on buying a quantity of breads from Wuollet Bakery that will make my mom blush and would surely have Dr. Atkins rolling over in his grave.  But I think these little biscuits just might best those bakery-bought breads.

Sweet Potato BiscuitsSweet Potato Biscuits

They’re sweet and tender—just crumbly enough.  I think they’d be lovely with a slather of sweet butter (or, ooooooh, I know: maple butter!) and I have a hunch they’d also serve as a perfect vehicle for the last spoonful of cranberry relish.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

So, that’s that.  These have been added to the Thanksgiving roster.  The only debate now is whether to make one batch or two.  I wouldn’t want people to fill up on the biscuits.  Remember: there’s pie on the way.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

See you back here soon with that pie recipe!  In the meantime, are you all trying out new Thanksgiving recipes? Do tell!  Any old favorites to share?

Sweet Potato Biscuits
Adapted Slightly from Bon Appetit (Molly Wizenberg)

Yield: 12 to 15 biscuits

One 3/4-pound red-skinned sweet potato (yam), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup chilled buttermilk

Cook sweet potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and mash.

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Butter bottom and sides of 8- or 9-inch cast iron skillet (or 8- or 9-inch cake pan).

Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Add cubed butter to flour mixture; toss to coat and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk in medium bowl. Add to flour mixture; toss with fork. Gather mixture in bowl, kneading until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and pat into 1-inch-thick round. Using 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, flouring cutter after each cut. Gather scraps; pat into 1-inch-thick round. Cut out additional biscuits, until the dough has been used.

Arrange biscuits side by side in prepared skillet or pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake until puffed and golden on top and tester inserted into center biscuit comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn biscuits out and gently pull them apart.

20 comments so far. »
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  1. Janae says on November 08 2010 at 8:11 pm:

    I am definitely going to give this one a try! (The mention of maple butter totally sealed the deal.)

    As far as Thanksgiving dishes go, I have the same old favorites that show up every year (or it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving!), but this year have resolved to try a few new ones, too. I’m still looking for a new cranberry recipe to try, as well as some kind of veggie side dish. (Like you, I have to ‘audition’ them, too.)

    Thanks for the biscuit idea!

  2. Taylor says on November 08 2010 at 10:06 pm:

    Mmm just another reason to love sweet potatoes! I can’t wait to see the sweet recipe you have coming :)

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet says on November 09 2010 at 5:04 am:

    I love sweet potatoes!

  4. Kristi says on November 09 2010 at 9:55 am:

    Yum, I’ll have to give these a try.

  5. Rose-Anne says on November 09 2010 at 11:14 am:

    Oh, I love how these biscuits are baked in a cast-iron skillet. It’s so rustic and beautiful. This year, I think I’d like to bring a vegetarian entree to wherever I end up on Thanksgiving Day; I’m thinking of a quiche piled with Gruyere and lots of sweetly caramelized onions. I’m also thinking of making either a citrus cake or a maple cake (or both!) for seasonal snacking.

  6. Sues says on November 09 2010 at 7:06 pm:

    I love sweet potato biscuits and was JUST thinking they’d be perfect for Thanksgiving. Yours look sooo pretty in the cast-iron skillet :)

  7. Vanessa says on November 09 2010 at 7:24 pm:

    I wonder if these would do well with cooked winter squash instead of yams…any thoughts?

  8. Susan says on November 10 2010 at 7:33 am:

    I saw something like this on Martha’s website and I have been meaning to give it a try as a test run for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Whitney says on November 10 2010 at 7:55 am:

    I wish I had a bowl of good lentil soup and some of those biscuits right now!

  10. Eva says on November 10 2010 at 10:37 am:

    I love the look of these biscuits, so rustic and what a great idea to use sweet potato! I also love anything that is cooked in cast iron…my holiday recipe I do every year is my “orange & rosemary cranberry sauce”…so easy and much better than the canned stuff! Have a great weekend!

  11. Abigail @ Good to Think and Eat says on November 10 2010 at 1:22 pm:

    Yum! Sweet potatoes and biscuits all rolled into one! In a cast-iron skillet no less. This recipe truly makes my heart sing. I can’t wait to bake it.

  12. kickpleat says on November 10 2010 at 11:13 pm:

    Oooh, I’m so going to try these!! Anything baked up in a cast iron skillet I’m a complete sucker for. Biscuits especially.

  13. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on November 11 2010 at 6:45 am:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Rose-Anne: That quiche sounds amazing!

    Vanessa: I think that would work just fine (though the sweetness will vary, based on the squash). If you try it, let us know! I think canned pumpkin puree would work here, too.

    Eva: That sounds wonderful — I’m intrigued by the addition of rosemary.

  14. heather @ chiknpastry says on November 11 2010 at 5:45 pm:

    aaaahhhh maple butter. perfect.

  15. Megan Gordon says on November 11 2010 at 6:47 pm:

    These look incredible. And for some reason, I always feel a little less guilty stocking up on bread if there’s a little something else to them (sweet potatoes = vitamins, obviously!). I love that you baked them up in a cast-iron skillet.

    I’m actually going to visit family this year, so we won’t be at home cooking which feels very odd. But I’m making up for it lately, baking pies and experimenting with stuffing.

  16. diane says on November 13 2010 at 8:14 am:

    These do look tasty and they can definitely replace the purchased bakery product. If only I could control that issue. The snow today actually makes it feel more like Minnesota Thanksgiving….and I can’t wait to cook up a storm with you. MOM

  17. Gemma says on November 17 2010 at 8:40 am:

    Mmm. These sound delicious. With maple butter? Yes, please.

  18. Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free says on November 18 2010 at 1:10 pm:

    Oh yes, I must make these though with gluten free flours! They are beauties! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanksgiving: Time for Breaking Bread says on November 22 2010 at 10:41 am:

    [...] Sweet Potato Biscuits [...]

  20. Martha says on November 30 2010 at 9:36 am:

    These are amazing! I’ve made them twice now, and everyone really enjoys them. My family has told me these are a new staple!

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