Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet potato and clementine biscuits

Here's some cute little biscuits--their natural sweetness is brought out by a bit of clementine zest. They'd be great alongside cold-weather soups, but I'm thinking they're particularly perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. You can make these sweeter by dusting the tops with cinnamon and sugar, or keep them on the savory side (they'd be great with slices of country ham).Get 3 cups of flour plus 1/2 cup cornmeal... Dump them together in a big bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Don't forget the chief! Add 3 teaspoons baking powder, mix well and set aside. This is the only annoying, do-ahead part of the whole thing, I promise. Bake one large sweet potato until very soft and mushy.
Scoop it out into a mixing bowl and mash it with 2 tablespoons honey plus the zest and a little bit of juice from one clementine. Now you'll need one stick of butter. One whole stick! Slice it into little pieces--you want the butter cold, straight out of the fridge, rather than at room temperature, by the way. And cut the butter, bit by bit, into the flour mixture. I do this by hand--just rub the flour with the butter pieces until it goes all flaky, like this. When you're done, your flour mixture should look granular and piecey. Here's my analogy--it's like putting in hair product. After you've incorporated all your butter, add in the sweet potato mixture. It will likely need a bit of help mixing, so measure out 3/4 cup of milk...And, very gently, blend it in along with the sweet potato. Do not over-mix--you just want to use the milk to barely bind everything together, rather than mixing it into a cohesive mass. Turn out your dough onto a floured surface and knead carefully just until it holds together, then pat it into a large square. Cut the square into squares... And those squares into more squares! I trimmed off the edges to make them more even looking, then re-rolled the scraps to cut a few more biscuits. Lay them out on parchment paper... There's actually quite a few here because I ended up cutting the last set of squares in half again. They were a bit too small though, in retrospect. Put them in a preheated, 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. They puff up a bit and get a lovely golden brown color. I brushed the tops with a mixture of brown butter and honey. They'd also be nice with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.Now, who would like some biscuits? Of course. Taste testers welcome!

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