I can hardly call myself a southern gal. The phrase “Y’all” refuses to pass my lips and my feet can only seem to do one step of the Texas Two-Step. These shortfalls, however, did not stop me from whipping up a batch of a southern classic. Biscuits. In the December issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, Molly Wizenberg (of Orangette fame) shared her recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits. Considering I am far from being an experienced biscuit maker, I thought it was best to make the recipe as written. I was intrigued by her method of placing mini biscuit rounds in a greased cake tin. The result was flavorful, colorful, mini biscuits that have a tender crumb and a definite “Awwww” factor. I am planning to fill these with my Maple and Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce and leftover turkey. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
Peel one 3/4-pound sweet potato cut into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a medium saucepan. Cover the sweet potatoes with water and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain, cool, and mash the sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, with the oven rack placed in the bottom third of the oven.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Cut 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces and work into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse meal.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the mashed sweet potato and 1/3 cup cold buttermilk.
Pour the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture and toss with a fork.
Using your hands, gather and press the dough together. Do not knead too much or the biscuits will become tough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Using a 1 1/2-inch circle cutter, cut out about 2 dozen biscuits.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan (with 1 1/2 to 2-inch sides). Place the biscuits in the cake pan. They will be touching or almost touching. Brush the tops of the biscuits with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in one of the center biscuits comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Place the pan on a rack and cool the biscuits in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the biscuits out of the pan and continue to cool on the rack. Serve.