I don’t really know anything about horse racing. I grew up not far from Saratoga Springs, NY, and we used to go to the track from time to time during racing season. I never won anything. (My refined technique of picking the prettiest horse never worked. I wonder why?) These days, I am one of the millions of people who only tune into the racing world on Derby Day, or for the Belmont if there is a chance that a horse might win the Triple Crown. I know who Calvin Borel is, but he’s the only jockey I can name. It’s safe to say that horse racing is not my sport – although I do love the hats, the roses and the green grass at Churchill Downs. But if you want to hear me talk intelligently about a sport, ask me about ice hockey, not horse racing.
One thing I do know about, though, is baking. Different people may disagree on what is necessary for Derby Day. Some can’t do without Derby Pie; some think the day is incomplete without spiced pecans. (I think we’d all agree on Mint Juleps, though.) I personally must have sweet potato biscuits. You can make these all year ’round, although I think they would also do very nicely for a Southern Thanksgiving celebration. But I need them on Derby Day.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter)
1 can sweet potatoes in syrup
1/2 cup soymilk (or buttermilk)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the Earth Balance (it must be cold) and “cut it in” using a pastry cutter or two knives. Work the Earth Balance until the pieces are the size of small peas. Set aside.
- Drain the canned sweet potatoes, but not too enthusiastically. (A little syrup left really adds to the flavor!) Mash with a fork. Mix in the soymilk and stir until the soymilk and sweet potatoes are smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with hands until dough comes together in a rough/sticky ball.
- Roll dough or simply pat it into a disk of about 1 inch height. (It’s so soft that you don’t really need a rolling pin unless, say, you have a lavender silicone French rolling pin that is super cute and you love to use it…) Using a round biscuit cutter or a small glass (I went with a cordial glass I had lying around, because I actually don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut rounds and place on a silicone- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps back into another disk and continue cutting biscuits and reshaping dough until all the dough is used up.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve with…
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened or spreadable
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Using a fork, mix the Earth Balance vigorously with the maple syrup until they form a whipped consistency. Serve in a cute bowl alongside the biscuits.
Source: Adapted from TheKitchn
Psst! I have a secret for you – these biscuits and the maple “butter” are completely vegan! You can always make them non-vegan by using butter instead of Earth Balance and buttermilk instead of soymilk, but I really encourage you to try the vegan version. No one will ever guess that they are vegan – and they will be amazed when you tell them.