Monday, December 27, 2010

Spiced Sweet Potato Biscuits

I mentioned the other day that I brought two different dishes to X-Mas Dinner at my friend's house over the weekend. The goal of both dishes was to supplement and complement the food already being prepared without duplicating much effort. The appetizer-to-dessert, cake balls, turned out fabulously. In fact, they are still calling my name from the fridge.

The second dish---Sweet Potato Biscuits---also turned out pretty tasty, but didn't quite rise to my expectations. Literally. They were basically flat. This is what I get for working with old baking powder. I did my best to use camera angles to make the biscuits look as tall as they should have been.

Still, they were different and easy, and "bread" is an oft-overlooked category at dinner. And they're not even terrible for you; approximately 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber, and 19 grams of carbs. So, boys and girls, make sure your baking powder is less than six months old, and then get cracking on this recipe.

Spiced Sweet Potato Biscuits
(adapted from Cooking Light)

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (3 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ginger, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part cloves or allspice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk (if you don't keep buttermilk around, then add 1 tsp. of white vinegar to a measuring cup, and fill the remainder with milk. Stir and let it sit for five minutes)
3/4 cup canned sweet potato (you can also use pumpkin)
3 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. (Weighing is most accurate, but as long as you spoon the flour lightly into the cup then you should get about the right amount.) Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes.

3. Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended; add canned sweet potato. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour.

5. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness.

6. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 14 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.

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