Sweet Potato Biscuits & Rolls

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Source: The Way The Cookie Crumbles and Prudence Pennywise



Sweet Potato Biscuits
by Dorie Greenspan

Makes about 18 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 15-ounce cans sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained and mashed
Pinch of ground cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Get out a sharp 2- to 2 1/4-inch-diameter biscuit cutter, and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and spice, if you're using it, together in a bowl. Add the brown sugar and stir to incorporate it, making sure there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat it with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between -- and that's just right.
Add the sweet potatoes to the bowl, grab a fork, and toss and gently turn the ingredients until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading -- 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even -- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting -- just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a cooling rack -- cooled a bit, they're more sweet potatoey. Give them 10 to 15 minutes on the rack before popping them into a basket and serving.

SERVING: Unlike most biscuits, these are best served after they've had a little time to cool. They are as good at brunch (they're great with salty ham and bacon) as they are at tea (try them with a light cheese spread and/or marmalade). Or have them with butter or jam, fruit butter or fruit compote.

STORING: You can keep the biscuits in a plastic bag overnight and give them a quick warm-up in the oven the next day, but you won't recapture their freshly made flakiness.

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Sweet Potato Rolls

Notes: Proof your yeast if you are concerned about its reliablity. Mix your yeast into the warm buttermilk and give it 10 minutes to see if it rises nicely. Continue with the rest of the recipe as follows.

3/4 cup mashed sweet potato, pumpkin, or butternut squash
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cups buttermilk, warm (think baby bottle warm)
2 teaspoons yeast (I love SAF)
1 egg, divided use
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 cups flour, plus more as needed
softened butter, for dough
wheat germ, if desired, for tops

In a large bowl or free standing mixer, combine potatoes, butter, and buttermilk. Add in yeast, egg YOLK, sugar, and salt. Gradually stir in the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes, adding more flour as needed to produce a smooth, elastic dough. Form the dough into a ball, and rub the outside of the dough with butter. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 70 minutes. Punch dough down and shape into 12 balls. Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an additional 45 minutes, or until light and doubled. Brush tops of doughs gently with egg white and sprinkle with wheat germ. Bake at 400 for 8-12 minutes. Serve warm.