At fall harvest time, and into the Christmas season (think ham or veggie accompaniment)—well, really, all year around–Sweet Potato Angel Biscuits have become a favorite of our family and friends. The morning after Thanksgiving, I made nearly a hundred of them, and by evening, only four or five remained in the bottom of the Ziploc bag.
Those who kept reaching for another and another included a baby-wearing mama, a teacher, a business vice president, a data scientist, an engineer, a college professor, a cardiologist, a nurse, and a whole front yard soccer team of little first and second cousins along with two dads—a research doctor and a hotelier.
But I don’t really make these for the grownups. I make them because without exception, my grandchildren love them. And they love going through the steps required to transform them from raw sweet potato into a delicacy.
Sweet potato angel biscuits are toothsome and sweet without being candy or cookie. They are buttery. They fit the hand well and don’t crumble, so they are perfect for travel treats in the car. And healthy? For every teaspoon of yummy butter there are two teaspoons of mashed sweet potato, so there’s your vegetable for finicky eaters! What’s not to like!
After Thanksgiving, Audra, our niece from Florida, asked for the recipe. Her daughter wanted some of “those yellow biscuits” Aunt Susan had. Anyone can make them—they are easy! However, they do take advance preparation and multiple steps, which is part of the fun. If you want to serve them on a certain day, be sure to begin the day before!
I start with raw sweet potatoes and put them in the oven to roast in their jackets in a moderate oven. I lay them on a tray because they get messy when they get good!
It is possible to mash up canned ones, but the taste is more delicious if you roast them in the oven until they ooze caramel juice. I am not the only one who feels that way. Many years ago, George Washington Carver, the expert on peanuts and sweet potatoes, said this, and I heartily agree:
“A sweet potato cooked quickly is not well cooked. Time is an essential element. Twenty minutes may serve to bake a sweet potato so that a hungry man can eat it, but if the flavor is an object, it should be kept in the oven for an hour.”
The vegetable becomes so sweet when roasted to perfection, that I find I can cut the added sugar to a third of what the recipe calls for. No one misses that sugar!
A couple of hints: Be sure to let them rise until they look high and puffy, it may take a while because they start out cold. That gives the best texture. Also, I roast a lot of sweet potatoes at once and store them in three-cup containers in the freezer. Gives you a head start when the urge to make these angelic treats strikes, or when a little one asks for “those yellow biscuits.” May she never be disappointed!
Susan Yoder Ackerman is a writer and gardener in Newport News, Virginia. Both her writing and her gardening are enhanced by tending a century-old family farmhouse and eight grandchildren that come and go. You can email Susan at [email protected]