Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Rosemary

Some days I don't feel like cooking at all and eat shin ramen or frozen food. And then other days I go into a internet-researching-and-cooking frenzy. Well, I think we're entering one of those phases. It started off so simply, with a brief conversation with my sister about our Thanksgiving duties. She asked if I could bring a dessert and do mashed potatoes. I did a vanilla cranberry crumb cake last year which was good but a little dry and so I decided to do some research for something new. And then the internet researching part of the frenzy began. So now I've decided to make four things for Thanksgiving - pumpkin pie cake, onion-mustard monkey bread, mashed potatoes, and these sweet potato biscuits with rosemary.

My first time making biscuits! The quality of my biscuits vary wildly based on how careful I am with evening out the dough and my carelessness, but regardless of how they look, they taste delicious! I made two batches and froze them for easy reheating before Thanksgiving dinner. I like the savory aspects of sweet potato things, but you can easily tweak this recipe to make it sweeter.

Now that I know that making biscuits is relatively easy, I'm very concerned about my waistline in the coming cold months. I ate two right as they came out of the oven. But so worth it. Nothing better than slightly burning your fingertips as you tear apart at a warm biscuit! Man I wish I had some bacon so that I could make a super yummy breakfast sandwich!

Servings: 12-16 2-inch biscuits

1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for cutting the biscuits)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (use 3 if you want your biscuits sweeter)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1/2 cup reduced fat milk (plus 1-4 more tablespoons as needed)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Handful of rosemary sprigs
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional - adds a nice kick but I omit it for the ones my niece and nephew might eat)


  • Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and microwave for 10 minutes (alternatively, you can bake them for about 1 hour in the oven at 400 degrees, but microwave is easier!). Let cool a bit and then peel the skin off and mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl with a fork. Place 1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes in the fridge until it's chilled (if you have any extra you can save for another batch or do what I did and give your dogs a treat).
  • In a large bowl add 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and stir until all ingredients are well mixed together.
  • In a small bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato with 1/2 cup milk until well blended together. 
  • Cut 8 tablespoons of butter into the dry mixture using a pastry blender, two knives (slicing like crossed swords), or your hands. Cut in the butter until there are pea-sized pieces of butter incorporated in the mixture. You want to have small pea-sized amounts of butter left intact as these lil pockets of cold butter help create air pockets in the biscuits when they bake and help the biscuit rise and keep it fluffy.
  • Add the sweet potato-milk mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just mixed. If ingredients are too dry and not sticking, add some extra milk, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. Don't overmix or this will lead to tough biscuits.
  • Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees and either line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it.
  • Mix together one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and set aside.
  • On a floured surface dump the dough and pat it out until it's about 1/2 inch thick throughout. 
  • Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter (or upside down glass/jar/can) cut out as many biscuits as you can. Push the cutter down sharply but do not twist! That'll seal off the edges and seal in the steam so the biscuits won't rise. Place biscuits on the cookie sheet.
  • Once you've cut out as many biscuits as you can the first go around, gather up the leftover scraps and pat it together and then out again. Stamp out more biscuits and add them to the cookie sheet. Supposedly each round you do this the biscuit will be less fluffy and potentially tougher so some recipes I saw said to only do this one extra time, but I hate waste and so I keep doing this until almost all the dough is used.
  • Brush the egg-cream mixture on top of the biscuits and then lightly press a few pieces of rosemary on top. 
  • Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes or until they are golden.
  • Serve warm (or in my case, eat it while burning your tongue and fingertips over the kitchen sink) or you can freeze them and then reheat in the oven.
Now the fun part, more photos! 

You can see how inconsistent I was with the height of my biscuits. Meh - I'm no perfectionist.
Moved some over to the cooling rack.
Back to eating more biscuits!
If you cook it, they will come.
Nom nom nom!
Sigh, my view every time I eat.
So of course I felt bad and had to give the girls a teeny bit of sweet potato! Sweet potatoes for my sweet pugtatoes!
Adapted from Food and Wine.