Wednesday 3 April 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Near the door of our local Superstore is a big cardboard bin filled with huge reddish-brown, orange fleshed tubers. The label on the bin reads "Jumbo Yams" but they are, in fact, sweet potatoes.

That's a good thing:  Sweet potatoes have more flavour and are richer in nutrients than yams[1].  They have a good shelf life too, and can be either canned or frozen (after being cooked and mashed) if you wish to put them by for when they're not in season.

"Jumbo yams" 
were on sale last week at Superstore for $0.46/pound.  That's some mighty big bang for my grocery buck! I bought 20 pounds of them with the intention of preparing and portioning them for the freezer.  

Before I cooked them, I took a picture of a couple of tubers so you could see how big they were.

Jumbo, indeed!  :)

I divided my cooked sweet potatoes into one-cup portions and froze most of them, but I did set aside a couple of cups for baking. 
I used one portion to make these biscuits.

This recipe is an adaptation of a biscuit shared recently by Chow.comchanged slightly to suit my cooking style.  

Sweet potato biscuits are a little less flaky than a traditional kneaded biscuit, but they're delicious.  Moist and slightly sweet, they work well with savoury dishes like stew but, should you decide to use them for shortcake, they'll pair equally well with fruit.

To make sweet potato biscuits, you'll need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, very cold, cut into slices of about a Tablespoon each
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup baked, mashed sweet potato

Whisk the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda together until well combined.

Add the butter to the bowl and work it into the flour by rubbing it between your fingers and thumb so that it breaks up into thin, rather flat pieces similar in shape and size to cornflakes.  

Toss the butter and flour mixture with your hands so that the butter is distributed throughout.  

Stir the milk and mashed sweet potato together until well combined.  

Mix the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to make a soft dough.

You'll probably need to finish the dough by kneading it a few times in the bowl until it holds together.  Try not to overwork it. The less you knead the dough, the more tender the finished biscuits will be.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter top and roll or press it into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick.  

Cut the rectangle into portions and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with a little milk, then place the pan on the middle shelf of a 400F oven.

Bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes, until the tops begin to take on some colour and they're cooked through.  

Serve your biscuits warm from the oven or allow them to cool on a wire rack before storing them in an airtight container.  Use them within a day or two, reheating them before serving.  

Sweet potato biscuits toast nicely if placed under the broiler.  They taste wonderful with just a bit of melty butter on top, and even better with cream cheese.