Tuesday, October 20, 2009

{TWD} Sweet Potato Biscuits


Absolutely no offense to Erin of Prudence Pennywise who chose this week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, but I wasn't particularly fired up about baking the Sweet Potato Biscuits, which is odd, since I love sweet potatoes (in fact, when my husband is out of town, one of my fall-back dinners is a baked sweet potato).

My reluctance may be because I've been baking a lot of yeast breads, muffins, and quick breads (most of which I haven't had a chance to turn into blog posts yet). Or it may be because we don't eat a whole lot of biscuits here at home (leaving that exercise for those times when we eat breakfast out - there are lots of great biscuits to be had at restaurants here in Georgia!) So whatever the reason, I had low enthusiam and low expectations for this recipe. However, I've been in TWD long enough to know that usually that means that I will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the baking session.

Somewhere along the way, my "set of 4" lost the crucial biscuit size cutter

n.o.e.'s notes:

- I made 1/4 recipe. Since I didn't want to use a partial can of sweet potatoes, I chopped and braised a small fresh sweet potato in cider and butter - it got a little caramelized - then mashed it for the 1/4 cup I'd need for the biscuits. The puree looked a dry, so I thinned it with some milk.

- Last week I borrowed a copy of Alton Brown's baking book, I'm Just Here for More Food from the library. One entire chapter covers the "Biscuit Method" of mixing ingredients for baking, so I brushed up on Brown's methods before starting in on making the biscuits. Brown talks at great length about the "landmines" that are present at every step of biscuit-making. Yipes! I incorporated several of Brown's tips as I prepared these biscuits - hoping that I'd end up with nice fluffy biscuits:

- I froze my butter, and kept putting it in the freezer at most every opportunity.

- The dry ingredients got combined in my mini-prep food processor, then I rubbed the butter into the flour mixture with my fingers at the same time I was trying to not over-handle the dough. Back into the freezer it went.

- I turned the dough out onto lightly floured parchment paper and used the paper to handle the dough. I gave it several letter folds, trying to build up layers in the dough.

- Although Brown recommends using a 2 inch biscuit cutter for maximum rise during baking time. The set of biscuit cutters that I'd bought when I was first married has been missing that size for years, so I used a smaller cutter - closer to 1.5 inch - instead. I ended up with 6 tiny biscuits.

- I set my oven to 450 rather than Dorie's specified 425.

- Despite all those precautions, they didn't rise very much in the oven. I'm guessing it was because the dough might have needed to be wetter to get the proper rise. The sweet potato was the only wet ingredient in the entire recipe! Next time I think I'd add even more milk to the puree.


the verdict:

You may have guessed it by now, but I was thrilled by the taste of these biscuits! No matter that they weren't grand and tall biscuits, they were so moist and tender inside, and the flavor was subtle and savory. The teensy pinch of fresh nutmeg didn't stand out, but lent a little complexity.

The biscuits were good with sharp cheddar, but my favorite way to eat them was warm with butter. Luckily they rewarmed decently in the microwave and I was able to enjoy them for several days!

You can find the recipe on Erin's post or on pages 26 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

31 comments:

vibi said...

Oh! I'm glad you had a change of mind and ended up enjoying those... since you've succeeded at them so nicely!

Kayte said...

Okay, I'm going back in with your tips...I was trying to follow her recipe exactly without adding or subtracting anything and I just could not get it to work either time. Let me try you ideas and see how I do. Flavor was great. Yours look wonderful. We have the same set of buscuit cutters, well, except that I still have all four!

Mary Ann said...

I think your biscuits got a lot of height compared to mine! I might have to give these another shot. Maybe the 3rd times the charm? My kids absolutely love these.
I think they look great.

Kim said...

Your biscuits look nice and tall. I'm glad you liked them so much. Eating them with sharp cheddar sounds wonderful. I'll have to try some of those tips and see if I can get these to work for me. Great post.

natalia said...

Ciao Nancy ! I wish I had thoufgt to braise the sweet potato and had know all your (or Alton's) tips before !!I'll use the microwave to heat them !!

Katrina said...

I pulse my flour and butter carefully in the food processor and it worked great. Then I folded in the sweet potato with a fork.
Love your little ones. I think you got great rise in them!

Eliana said...

Ah - the complexities of buiscuit making. I'm going to make sure I bookmark this post for when I start making biscuits.

myfamousrecipe said...

The caramelized sweet potato in butter and cider sounds divine. I added a couple splashes of milk to my dough, too, but in the end it still wasn't quite wet enough. Nevertheless, these tasted great!

theeclecticconnoisseur said...

Nicely done. I love Alton Brown. That man's a genius!

Di said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed these. They just aren't happening here this week, but I hope to get to them at some point. Enjoy your trip!

mike said...

Wow... even with the wrong biscuit cutter, they turned out fabulous! And I agree - they WERE quite surprisingly good! Looks like the library paid off... mine were a bit flat - but then again, I don't know any better. They still tasted great! Kudos to Alton - and Nancy!

Flourchild said...

I have the same scalloped cutouts! Your biscuits look great and that's good you liked them!

Amber Marie said...

Glad you enjoyed these. I didn't think of eating them with cheddar but it sounds very good.

Maria said...

I need to try these. I love sweet potatoes!

Amy said...

So glad you ended up liking them! I thought they were wonderful! Your pictures look great, too!

-Amy
www.singforyoursupperblog.com

Steph said...

I love your biscuit cutters! Too bad one is missing. Mmmmm... I love sweet potato so much, I can eat it during any meal time.

TeaLady said...

They did come out beautifully, Nancy. Wish mine had been more than SP discs. I will have to try again.

I also need to get AB's book. Need!!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I'm glad they worked out so well for you! And I love all the prep and study you put into your projects.

Karen said...

These look like delicious tiny biscuits! Thanks for sharing the Alton Brown tips as well!

AmyRuth said...

The Alton tips paid off, your biscuits look really puffy and delicious. Nice job, Nancy.
AmyRuth

steph- whisk/spoon said...

they look pretty good to me! i like that tip about doing letter fold to build layers--good idea that i'll keep in mind for next time!

margot said...

Your biscuits look so nice and tall, it must have been that dash of milk. I agree that they were surprisingly good!

Tracey said...

Oh wow, wish I'd had that Alton Brown book here when I set out to make these :) Yours look perfect! I suspect if Dorie had included a photo, it'd look a lot like yours. Love the scalloped cutters - I've been looking for those but haven't found them around here yet.

mdeals said...

yummy ...its really looks very nice....

Leslie said...

Spectacular biscuits! I'm glad they surprised you in a good way. I find AB's biscuit instructions to be very comprehensive so maybe I'll brush up on them before attempting biscuits again.

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous biscuits--they look just perfect.

Pamela said...

They look so good, Nancy.

spike. said...

the biscuits would be great with sharp cheddar! good idea. Mine didn't rise well either.

pinkstripes said...

Oh, I'll have to try the letter fold step next time I make biscuits. I usually do all the others.

Glad you liked them!

Carol Peterman said...

I thought these were really tasty too. Great tips on biscuit making and I did add some buttermilk to mine to get the dough to come together.

lavienouveau said...

ooo these look soooooo delicious!