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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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