Thanksgiving, featuring Sweet Potato Biscuits

Do you know what day it is?

Today, my dear friends, is the anniversary of this lovely little corner of the Internet right here, otherwise known as Strong Coffee.  My first recipe for Gingerbread with Espresso Glaze was posted December 3, 2012, and now here we are, talking about a full Thanksgiving dinner.

Such fooding.
So blog.

A lot has changed since then, mostly in ways I could've never anticipated.  I'm quite the planner; not to the point where I have no room, or patience, for spontaneity, but it's definitely an impulse to make the uncertain certain.  I enjoy exercising the power of organizing chaos.  Usually I find out that I don't actually have that power; but, fortunately for my dinner guests and me, I successfully organized the chaos that is Thanksgiving.  Armed with my beautiful, glorious spreadsheet, all of my dishes turned out as planned.  And I didn't mess up the turkey!  You've probably seen a million gajillion recipes floating around the Internet in the past couple weeks for turkey: how to brine your turkey, how to not brine your turkey because brining is evil, how to cook the perfect turkey, deep fry your turkey, turkey is overrated, blahhhhhh... So I won't bore you with the recipe I used for mine.  If you want to know, it's from Alton Brown, because he the Zeus of culinary gods, just sayin'.  Let's not extend that metaphor too far, okay?  Don't go there.  He's awesome, that's it.

I will, however, share with you the recipe I used for sweet potato biscuits.  Because I would've risked the biggest, most gloriously painful food coma of my life to eat three more after dinner, if only they hadn't all been devoured already.  My post-Thanksgiving morning sandwich on a sweet potato biscuit would've been too glorious for words... If only.  But thankfully (har har) they're really simple to make.  You just have to expend a little extra effort to roast a sweet potato, and spend some extra time to let it cool down.  Then just mash it up, eating the skin as a nice little snack of course.  They were great for Thanksgiving prep, since I was able to roast my sweet potatoes on Monday, then make the dough and form the biscuits Tuesday, freezing them on sheet trays overnight before putting them in a gallon-size Ziploc, so that on Thursday all I had to do was let them thaw out on the counter for an hour and bake.  I made a double batch, which made 14 substantially sized biscuits (I mean, if I'm going to have a biscuit, I want a biscuit), and that's what I've posted below.

I won't go too much into the sappy details of Thanksgiving and the evening that followed, how loved I felt surrounded by people who care about me, how fortunate I am to love and be loved by the wonderful people in my life, to have made new friendships and gone down new paths this year, et cetera et cetera, because I'll digress as I'm digressing now into a little pile of soft cuddly mush.  Suffice it to say that I am a very fortunate person, and I love that these months of November and December always make me step back for a moment to really appreciate it.

Okay, it's biscuit time, enough of that cheesy stuff.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
from Tanya Holland at Food & Wine

2 c chilled sweet potato puree*
1 1/2 c chilled buttermilk
4 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter, cubed

*To make the sweet potato puree, roast a couple of sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F.  I just poke mine several times with a fork (to release the steam that'll get trapped under the skin), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and wrap in tin foil.  Be sure to put your wrapped sweet potatoes on a sheet pan to catch any juices that'll leak out.  Depending on the size of your sweet potatoes this'll take an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree and buttermilk.  Then, in a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt).  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter if you have one, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are the size of peas.  If the butter has become too warm, pop the bowl in the freezer for a couple minutes.  Carefully stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.

Dust a clean surface with flour, and dump out the dough.  Pat the dough down with your palm until it's 1-2 inches thick, depending on your preference.  Using a glass (or an actual circular cookie cutter if you have one, ha), cut the biscuits to the desired size.  Again, if the dough has become too warm, pop it in the freezer.  At this point, you could freeze the cut out biscuits completely to bake another time.

Brush the tops with a little melted butter if you feel so inclined, then bake for 15-30 minutes (again, depending on the size) until they're crisp on the outside and firm on the inside when you press gently with your fingertips.  Serve warm.  A drizzle of honey wouldn't hurt.

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