sugar free, sweet potato biscuits with coconut oil

These might be the softest biscuits I’ve ever had.

I’ve had sweet potato biscuits on the brain for months now. I don’t want to even admit how many sweet potatoes I bought last month alone with biscuits in mind. But one by one, we ate the potatoes as I continued to procrastinate researching and experimenting with biscuit recipes. I began to think I’d never get around to making them.

But they came to mind again this week after I agreed to go sugar-free with three other women I know through blogging and twitter. We’ve supported each other all week via tweets, while visions of honey sweetened sweet potato biscuits danced in my head. Our only rule was: No sugar except honey, Stevia, coconut / palm sugar, or coconut nectar.

If you’re thinking, “that’s not so bad”, trust me, it’s not as easy as it might sound. Sugar proliferates our food environment and it’s hard to get away from. Sometimes it hides in the most innocuous places, and checking every label has slowed down my grocery shopping.

I must say I bought Stevia for the first time this week to replace Splenda in my tea, and love it. But there were so many Stevia options on the shelf, I wasn’t sure which one to go for. So this will be another area of research for me.

Mostly, I’m using honey when I need something sweet; like in my plain, non-fat yogurt in the mornings. And in these biscuits.

soft, coconut oil, honey, sweet potato biscuits

 

Otherwise it’s been bananas, strawberries, oranges, and apples when I need a hit something sweet.

A word about these biscuits: I looked at a lot of biscuit recipes, and ultimately modeled mine from one of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s in her The Bread Bible cookbook. I made a few changes though, in case you’re familiar with her version. Not that Ms. Beranbaum hasn’t already figured it all out, but I reduced the butter by half, and replaced it with coconut oil since coconut and sweet potato flavors go so beautifully together. In fact, since I keep reading that coconut oil is much better for you, next time I might reduce the butter even further. I also replaced the cake flour with brown rice flour, swapped in honey for the sugar, and mixed in a raw egg instead of the hard-boiled ones the original recipe calls for.

Oh, and I added cardamom powder because I like it. Feel free to eliminate if you don’t.

Cooking Notes:

The coconut oil, sweet potatoes, egg, and honey all contribute to a very moist biscuit. The combination of both yeast and baking powder is absolutely critical to making these moist biscuits lighter and pillow-y soft. If you’re looking for a flakey biscuit (I like those too), this isn’t the biscuit you want to make. But if you’re looking for a melt-in-your mouth soft biscuit, this is it.

If you use the brown rice flour with the all-purpose standard (wheat) flour as I have, you can knead it a bit more to get it smooth without worrying about developing too much gluten for the biscuits. Some gluten development is fine though, since we’re not going for a flakey biscuit.

Only knead this dough when it’s cold, fresh from the refrigerator, as it’s a sticky dough.

My favorite place to put dough to rise is in the microwave oven. I first heat up a small cup of water, move it to a back corner of the microwave, and slide in the dough ensconced in a covered bowl. I then close the microwave door and wait for the yeast magic to start to work. The cup of hot water produces a warm environment, and the microwave oven protects the dough from drafts.

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Honey and Coconut Oil

     by Susan Pridmore

     Makes 15 – 20, depending on size

       Cook Time: 15 – 20 minutes


Ingredients

  • 6.5 ounces (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 2.3 ounces (2/3 cup) brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (Rapid-Rise)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium-small sweet potato (big enough to yield 1/3 cup mashed potato)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (I used 2% fat buttermilk)
  • 2 tablespoon honey (orange-flavored would be wonderful)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions

NOTE: As a time saver, I like to start these biscuits in the bowl of a food processor. If you don’t have one, make sure you mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly with a whisk. It’s important to make sure the baking powder and yeast are evenly distributed into the flour. Use either a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers to rub the butter and coconut oil into the flour.

Place the flours, baking powder, instant yeast, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse them a few times to evenly distribute the baking powder and yeast through the flours.

Slice the butter into 1/2 tablespoon slabs and add to the bowl, along with the coconut oil. Pulse a few times until the butter is broken into pea-sized pieces. The best way to check this is by dipping a fork into the flour mixture a few times.

Bake the sweet potato until soft (I use the microwave). Spoon out 1/3 cup of sweet potato. Place in a fine strainer and push it through using the back of a spoon. Sweet potato is thick and can be lumpy, and this straining will give you a beautiful smooth result. It should also by cool enough now to add the wet ingredients.

Add the egg, buttermilk, and honey. Stir thoroughly using a whisk. Add the cardamom and whisk a few more times. If your cardamom is older, you might want to add a little more. You should have a nice smooth batter to add to the flour mixture.

Form a well in the middle of the flour with your hand, and pour half of the batter into it. Using a spatula, combine the mixture by folding the flour into the batter. Add the remaining batter and continue to mix into the flour mixture.

As soon as the flour and batter are fully integrated, it’s time for the first rise. The dough is very sticky, so don’t knead it yet. Cover the bowl with plastic and allow the dough to rise until it’s almost doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). My favorite place to put dough for a rising is the microwave. I place a hot cut of water in the microwave with it so that it’s nice and warm and safe from drafts.

Lightly oil a clean bowl and move the dough to it. the process of doing this will punch it down. Cover the dough with plastic, fitting the plastic wrap loosely around the mound of dough, and slide the bowl into the refrigerator. I leave it there overnight, but if you’re in a rush, leave it in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Lightly flour a work space and lay the dough on it. Knead it a few times (10 – 20 times at the most) to get a smooth dough, adding a little flour as needed.

Place the dough on a piece of parchment or wax paper and roll it out into a square or rectangular shape, about 3/4″ thick.

Line a baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper. Slice the dough into large squares, approximately 3″ square. Cut each square diagonally in half to form two triangles per square. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet, 1″ apart from each other. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area of your kitchen to rise for an hour. They should be 1″ to 1 1/4″ inch high.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. I always have a baking stone in my oven, but it’s not critical. The benefit of a baking stone is that it can evenly heat the baking sheet and reduce problems with uneven heat. If you’re using one, place it on the center rack, or one rack down from the center.

Bake for 10 minutes and increase the heat to 400 degrees F. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes. The surfaces should be a little more than lightly browned. If you have a temperature probe, the internal temperature of the biscuits should reach 200 degrees F.

Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

I find I don’t need any extra honey and butter on them, but you can serve these on the side when you bring them to the table.

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35 Responses to “Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows With Honey and Coconut Oil” Subscribe

  1. Michele W February 21, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    The dough in the microwave is a great idea!

  2. Erika February 21, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Susan! I have been loving your recipes lately. I’ve also been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately–sweet potato biscuits are actually on my list of to-make items! I am definitely adding these to the list, and THANK YOU so much for the microwave tip–between my roommate and I, we’ve managed to melt two of my bowls by putting the dough in the oven to rise and then accidentally turning on the oven before taking it out. Hah. Anyway, BEAUTIFUL photos, thanks for the delicious looking recipe, and great job keeping up your sugar-free streak!!
    Erika recently posted..Carrot Cake Smoothie + a detox update!My Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks SOOO much Erika! You made my day. The microwave is the way to go – no preheating risk :-) I can just imagine opening the oven to find a melting bowl!! I think you would love these little biscuits :-) Oh, and going to a birthday party for a friend tomorrow, so that’s my next sugar-free test. Sigh. I seriously love cake. Especially birthday cake…
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows With Honey and Coconut OilMy Profile

      • Erika February 22, 2013 at 9:02 am #

        Oh man, I do too…birthday cake is THE BEST. But stay strong!!! Or don’t. I hear totally strict diets set some people up for failure so I vote for having a small slice!! :)
        Erika recently posted..2-ingredient Sweet Potato FrittersMy Profile

  3. Rita February 21, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Very clever. You’re becoming a food scientist!
    Rita recently posted..Comment on Easiest Ever No-Knead Artisan Bread by Rosie’s KitchenMy Profile

  4. Sunithi February 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    These sound and look awesome. I actually have sweet potatoes at home right now, so I can make these when I get back from my weekend getaway. Sweet potato does help a sweet tooth I think ! Lol I turned to it too when I was carving sugar this week. Been going god so far. Glad we could do this together. Much easier or I would have caved by now :)
    Sunithi recently posted..Baked Sweet Potato Chips Laced With Cayenne & Garlic SaltMy Profile

  5. Norma Chang February 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I like melt-in-your mouth soft biscuit so I know I will love yours. Your cooking notes are very helpful.
    Do you keep your baking stone in the oven all the time regardless of what you are baking/cooking? Is there a particular size that is better? I am guessing you place it on the lowest oven rack.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      Thanks Norma! I leave my baking stone in the oven 100% of the time. It’s heavy, as you know, and it doesn’t hurt it to my knowledge to do that. On the size, the closer it comes to the size of your baking sheet, the better, since you’re looking for it to keep the entire tray at the same temperature. And I’m glad you mentioned the oven rack. For this recipe, it’s actually in the middle. One down from the middle is fine too. But If it’s any higher than the middle, it’s going to brown too much on the top surface of the biscuits. I’ll add this to the instructions! Thanks!!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows With Honey and Coconut OilMy Profile

  6. apuginthekitchen February 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I am so making these, they look so light they could float. I love a soft biscuit, a soft and tender biscuit has eluded me all my life. I don’t have brown rice flour, I have regular AP, cake or gluten free which would you recommend in place of the brown rice flour?
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Hearty Kale Salad With Kabocha Squash,Pomegranate Seeds And Toasted Hazelnut And An AwardMy Profile

  7. lizthechef February 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    This really makes me wish I could bake even half decently – lovely.
    lizthechef recently posted..A Winter Cocktail, The SidecarMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Thanks Liz! I think you could totally make these. Not a lot of kneading – no window pane testing for elasticity. Not a lot of rolling dough out. You can do this. If you try it, let me know so I’ll be around to answer any questions you may have. Seriously.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows With Honey and Coconut OilMy Profile

  8. Mallory @ Total Noms February 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Well don’t these sound FANTASTIC! I know what I’m making this weekend!
    Mallory @ Total Noms recently posted..Pretty Damn Good Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  9. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out February 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    There is just not one word in the title of this recipe that I don’t positively love. I feel quite certain I could inhale and entire recipe of these lovely pillows with zero difficulty at all!
    Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out recently posted..Easy Meaty Spaghetti SauceMy Profile

  10. Julie February 22, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    I was just getting ready to ask if these could be frozen, and saw your response to Stephie (who happens to be my daughter–it’s kind of scary at times). Did you freeze them after they were baked, or before? Assuming you popped them in the microwave if they were frozen after you baked them? I really, really need these in my life.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 23, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks so much Julie! I froze them after I baked them and have been microwaving them for 30 seconds to thaw and warm up. You may be able to freeze them before baking, and just increase the baking time. I do that with scones with great success. But I would complete the final rising before freezing. But I should add the caveat that I haven’t done this yet with a yeasted bread. Would love to hear how they worked for you if you make them!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows With Honey and Coconut OilMy Profile

  11. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom February 22, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Wow! The softest biscuits you’ve ever had?! Wow, now I must try. . I’ve always wanted to try sweet potato biscuits! Thanks for the recipe and yours look fabulous!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted..Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Avocado.My Profile

  12. Shelby | Diabetic Foodie February 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I must make these immediately! Yum!
    Shelby | Diabetic Foodie recently posted..Baked Oysters and ApplesMy Profile

  13. TasteFood February 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    These have such a beautiful color. I am sure they are delicious with the cardamom – and orange is a nice touch.
    TasteFood recently posted..Chipotle Pork CarnitasMy Profile

  14. mjskit February 23, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    These do look like little pillows! I love them! I happen to have a really nice sweet potato in the pantry looking for a purpose. The only thing I don’t have is the coconut oil. Do you have a substitution suggestion? Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!
    mjskit recently posted..Asparagus, Chorizo, and a Soft-Boiled EggMy Profile

  15. Lora @cakeduchess February 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Oh, Susan…I just love these melt in your mouth biscuits. A super idea to use sweet potatoes. I am making them this weekend:)

  16. Hannah February 28, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Oh Susan, I can imagine these are pillow-y soft! I adore sweet potatoes and what a wonderful way to enjoy them. I’m with you on the sugar…coconut palm sugar has become my go-to, followed by small amounts of honey or maple syrup. Mostly, I too try to eat more fruit (when spring and summer’s bounty arrives this will be easy!) or some very dark chocolate for my sweets craving. And I do love cardamom!
    Hannah recently posted..Creamy Strawberry Macaroon TartMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian March 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      Thanks Hannah. On the sugar, it’s really a one day at a time kind of thing. I’m doing pretty well though – only having a dessert once a week now for two weeks straight. And no wine. What’s really helped me is finding a tea that I really, really like. When I feel the need for a treat, it’s my new go-to. Not that I’m completely giving up dessert; I just need to take a step back to get it out of my system for a few weeks :-).
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Adzuki Beans with Miso and Chopped KaleMy Profile

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