Mmmm sweet potato biscuits… /homerdrool
Here’s an annoying fact: I get music from my parents’ generation stuck in my head. All. The. Time. Perhaps it’s because my mom listened to music constantly when I was small, but regardless of the cause, the end result is the vast majority of the 70s soft rock genre has wormed its way into my subconscious like an earwig on a coke bender. Air Supply, Chicago, Bread, the Carpenters, the entirety of the Yacht Rock canon. It’s all very good music, to be sure, but it’s little out of context in the land that is Steph’s Brain… And it’s become one hell of a distraction.
Here’s an example. For the past month, I’ve had Jim Croce stuck on repeat through every waking moment of my life. My days look (sound?) something like this.
At my desk, typing an email to a colleague:
Operator, won’t you help me place this call? You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded…
“Hey there Ms Writer, I never received the documents you mentioned last week. Can you please help me make this call?” DAMMIT! Backspace, backspace, backspace…
Later in the day, walking to pick up my lunch. I’m waiting for my sandwich:
She’s living in LA,with my best old ex-friend ray, a guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated
“Ma’am? Hello? You with the short hair? Is this your sandwich? I’ve been waving at you for like three minutes now.”
In the evening, standing over boiling pasta water:
Isn’t that the way they say it goes? But let’s forget all that, and give me the number if you can find it, so i can call just to tell them I’m fine and to show…
“Crap, where did all the water go? How long has this thing been boiling for? Fraaaack!”
Going to bed:
I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well. I only wish my words could just convince myself that it just wasn’t real… But that’s not the way it feels………
To which I end up dreaming of phone booths and That 70s Show.
It’s worth mentioning that this song came out in 1972, almost six year before I was born. Croce even died before I made an appearance on this planet. It’s also an unfortunate testament to my verbal memory skills that I know every lyric to every freaking adult contemporary song released between 1970 and 1982. Those lyrics up there? Yup, typed completely from memory. What I wouldn’t give to put that sizable portion of my brain to better use. Sigh.
I listened to a lot of music in high school, music that others my age were listening to, but none of it seems to have stuck. Why don’t I ever develop Nirvana ear worms? Or Beck? R.E.M.? Michael Jackson? Hell, I’d even take early, cheesy Guns & Roses or some soupy remix of The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work. Anything from my generation.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this story, other than the fact that I’ve never mentioned it to anyone and it feels good to say it out loud (as it were). Just please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t ever mention The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald within earshot, or you’ll curse me to weeks of Gordon Lightfoot crawling over my shoulder when I’m in the shower, murmuring Superior, they said, never gives up her dead, when the gales of November come early. Creepy.
And special thanks to my coworker, Rich, who occasionally peeks his head over the cube wall to warble, “Operrrraaaatorrr” every time he’s sure I’ve finally freed myself from the torment of this song.
Few things will distract you from a clingy ear worm better than warm biscuits. Especially these sweet potato biscuits, which are so easy to make and glow with such a nuclear shade of orange that you may very well miss the second coming, should it arrive within ten minutes of sliding these guys out of the oven.
I’d never had a sweet potato biscuit before making these, and I have to credit the recipe to Scott Hocker, author of the Sweet Potatoes edition of my favorite little cookbooks, Short Stacks. These books are pretty awesome as far as creativity goes, each filled with a unique set of recipes that I find really exciting. (Which is more than I can say for most cookbooks these days.)
Once you’ve roasted the sweet potatoes, this biscuit recipe comes together in a flash, with very little drama. There’s no cold butter to mess with, and with the exception beating the dough too much, you’d actually have to try really hard to screw these up. So for those that consider yourself challenged in the kitchen, Merry Christmas.
Thank you for your dime. You’ve been so much more than kind.
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potatoes (2 medium sweet potatoes, recipe below)
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half a stick)
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 3 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Adjust the top rack of your oven so that it's at the second highest position. Preheat to 450°F (232°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment and grease with the room temperature butter.
- In a large bowl, stir together the mashed sweet potatoes, milk, and melted butter. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Stir the ingredients well with a whisk to make sure they are aerated and well combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not over mix.
- Use tablespoon to scoop 12 mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, each about 2-inches wide, leaving at least 1-inch between them.
- Bake the biscuits until the tops brown in some parts and the biscuits sound hollow when thumped lightly with a finger, 15-20 minutes total, rotating the pan after 10 minutes. Let the biscuits cool for a few minutes, then use a knife to release them from the liner. Eat warm, slathered with salted butter and a drizzle of honey, if you like.
- How to roast sweet potatoes: Preheat over to 425°F (218°C). Place your oven racks at the lowest position. Prick each sweet potato all over with a fork. (Important!! Lest they vaporize with a huge BANG. Sad panda.) Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes, turning them halfway through. Once done, a paring knife should slip easily into the center of the largest potato as if it were soft butter. Allow to cool, remove skins, and mash with a fork. Voila!