GLUTEN FREE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
Sweet potatoes are an undeniably important part of any holiday table, and there seem to be at least a thousand ways to serve them. Whichever way you grew up eating them, chances are that you’ll swear it’s the “right way.” I was a grown adult with children of my own before I ever saw pureed sweet potatoes served with miniature marshmallows at a meal. They were so unfamiliar to me that I found myself waiting for someone to explain why they had served dessert with the meal! It can take quite a lot of convincing for anyone to willingly surrender a tradition, so I say why try? Let’s a make a brand new tradition instead with these light and flaky, tender gluten free sweet potato biscuits.
My favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes is by baking them right in their skins. Just wash and pierce them, dry them thoroughly and place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375°F oven for about an hour, or until the skin begins to wrinkle and the potatoes are soft to the touch (even through the skin). If your sweet potatoes are of varying sizes, as mine always seem to be, begin checking for doneness around 40 minutes for the smallest potatoes, and simply remove the potatoes from the oven as they finish baking. Baking them in their skins, rather than boiling them, caramelizes their sugars and intensifies their flavors. The skins come off very easily once the potatoes are baked and cooled, and all that’s left to do is mash them easily with the tines of a fork.
Making biscuit dough is a cinch when you use your KitchenAid® 9-Cup Food Processor, especially with a few tips. There is no need to whisk together the dry ingredients for the biscuit dough because pulsing them in the bowl of the food processor takes care of that for you in an instant. Next up is handling the butter, which is by far the most important step in pastry-making of all kinds. The butter must be cold, and only roughly chopped into large chunks. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor, and then pulse only 2 to 3 times. Contrary to popular recipe jargon, you do not want your butter to be the size of small peas. You want much larger, 1/2-inch chunks of butter. As you handle the pastry dough, the butter will begin to melt from the heat of your hands—no matter how lightly you handle it. As long as the butter is in chunks, it will firm back up when the dough is chilled prior to baking.
Although baking is about chemistry, making biscuits (or any pastry) is also about architecture. When the cold chunks of butter in chilled biscuit dough hit the heat of the preheated oven, they expand and push out the other ingredients surrounding them, creating their trademark flakiness.
Another tip for helping your biscuits rise is to make sure the edges are sharp, rather than rounded. Be sure to flour your biscuit cutter before you make each swift, sure cut in the dough. And flour the shaped biscuits lightly to help prevent the butter from leaking out of the dough during baking.
Baked sweet potatoes not only give these amazingly flaky gluten free biscuits depth of flavor, but a buttery mouth feel that can’t be beat. Even by sweet potato puree with miniature marshmallows. Really!
GLUTEN FREE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose gluten free flour blend (I used my mock Cup4Cup blend), plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon (6 grams) kosher salt
2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (112 grams) unsalted butter, very roughly chopped and chilled
3/4 cup (180 grams) mashed baked and skinned sweet potatoes
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) whole milk, chilled
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In the bowl of your KitchenAid® 9-Cup Food Processor fitted with the steel blade, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Pulse to combine well. Scatter the chopped and chilled butter evenly over the dry ingredients, and pulse briefly 2 or 3 times, or until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients in about 1/2-inch chunks. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and the milk, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out of the bowl of your KitchenAid® 9-Cup Food Processor onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough lightly with more flour, and press it together into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator, unwrap the dough and sprinkle it lightly with flour and roll out the dough into a rough rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Fold the dough in half, sprinkle it again lightly with flour and roll out again into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold in half once more, and roll out into a 3/4-inch rectangle, squaring the edges slightly. The dough should be relatively smooth.
Flour lightly a 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out a round of dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cut out as many more rounds as possible, flouring the cutter each time, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll the scraps, and cut out the remaining rounds. For the biscuits to rise properly, the edges must be cut clean (not just shaped into rounds with your hands). Sprinkle the biscuit rounds lightly with more flour (this will help prevent the biscuits from leaking butter as they bake).
Place the biscuits on the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the biscuits are firm. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until puffed and lightly golden brown all over (about 18 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.