The basic biscuit gets a makeover with the addition of sweet potato puree and a pinch of cinnamon.
Sweet potatoes are misunderstood. So many people (ahem, sister dear) don’t like them, and I have absolutely no idea why. Personally, I think they are great. They have a wonderful flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory applications. They taste wonderful simply roasted and served on their own, or turned into some sort of baked good (biscuits, anyone?). In one childhood book favorite of mine, there is a scene where one of the main characters buys a roasted sweet potato from a street vendor–I wish that was still possible. It would be so much healthier than any of the rolls and cakes that are so widely available here in Austria.
If you aren’t a fan of sweet potatoes, think about this: Sweet potatoes are, according to WebMD, one of the most nutritious vegetables and are full of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. The USDA says that one medium sweet potato has 37% of your suggested daily Vitamin C intake and 438% of Vitamin A. 438%! Still not convinced? Maybe you’re the type of person that likes sweet potatoes when they are mixed into something, rather than freshly roasted from the oven and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Which is also delicious, by the way, and probably my favorite way to eat a sweet potato.
This is my first recipe I’m posting from Austria, though it is completely an American recipe. Sweet potatoes are native to the Americas, and biscuits are pretty darn American as well. In fact, as far as I know (and according to my trusty online dictionary) there isn’t even a word for the American food “biscuit” in German. However, me cooking American things while abroad makes a lot of sense, as delicious Austrian baked goods, especially breads, are widely available. Every grocery store has a good bakery section and bakeries line the streets of cities here.
Finding sweet potatoes to cook with was much more difficult that I expected it to be. When I studied abroad in Germany two years ago, sweet potatoes were a staple dinner ingredient when I cooked for myself. I had no trouble finding them in Berlin, though once I had to tell the cashier what a sweet potato was. Here I had to go to three different stores before finding (overpriced) sweet potatoes. I am dedicated to my sweet potatoes, so I paid the price and I will forever be on the lookout for the best sweet potato deal.
In the meantime, I’ve got this sweet potato biscuit recipe for you. Fair warning: I do not like biscuits that taste purely of butter, so these may be a little bit heartier than what most people consider an ideal biscuit. If you need more cajoling to try this recipe, just think about this…warm, pale orange, fluffy, slightly sweet hot-from-the-oven biscuits served with butter and honey that just melt right away, perfect for any meal. If you’re cooking for one, roast a large sweet potato for dinner one night, eat half of it with whatever else you please (I like Rotkohl, steamed veggies, and roasted sweet potato for an easy meal), and within the next day or two, make these for breakfast!
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Adapted from Sodium Girl.
Makes 8 large biscuits.
- 2 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for kneading (this time I used all white flour as it was all I had, but you can definitely use white whole wheat or whole wheat)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- pinch cinnamon
- 6 T butter (chilled!)
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 T butter, melted
- 2 T water
- 3/4 cup sweet potato puree*
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands, cut in the butter. Continue cutting in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.
In a small bowl, mix melted butter, water, yogurt, milk, and sweet potato puree. Add the wet mix to the dry, and stir to combine. If the mixture seems too dry, add more milk or yogurt. Lightly flour a surface, pour out the biscuit dough, and briefly knead. The dough should come together but still be loose and slightly lumpy. Form dough into a rectangular or disc, about 1 inch thick. Cut out biscuits using a knife or a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are just turning golden brown (mine may have stayed in the oven a minute or two too long!).
Serve warm with butter, jam, honey, or whatever else you please!
*To make your own sweet potato puree: 3/4 cup of sweet potato puree is about 1/2 a large sweet potato. Slice and roast the sweet potato, without adding any oil or seasonings. You can roast sweet potatoes at practically whatever temperature you want, I usually do around 400. Don’t forget to poke holes before roasting! When cool, remove the skin and mash!
Need more sweet potato ideas? Check out Alton Brown’s sweet potato episode for some tips and some laughs.