Holidays can be stressful for vegetarians -- and their families or hosts -- and even more so for vegans. But these days it's uncommon to find a family or group of revelers that doesn't have at least one meat-abstaining member. If you're wanting to make something special to accommodate your one vegan guest, or if you're a vegan searching for something to bring along to a family meal, you are not alone.
At Crossroads, L.A.'s swank restaurant where everything happens to be vegan, they've spent a lot of time and energy coming up with recipes that taste like nothing at all is missing. Even their baked goods are dairy-free and delicious. We asked Crossroads pastry chef Serafina Magnussen for a holiday recipe that's meat- and dairy-free and easy to make at home (Crossroads does employ a lot of fancy equipment and ingredients to make all that plant-based food possible). She gave us this recipe for sweet potato biscuits -- exactly the kind of generous, filling treat you might miss if your holiday meal otherwise consists of salad.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
From: Serafina Magnussen
Makes: 8-10 biscuits
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh minced thyme
¼ tsp. fresh minced rosemary
½ tsp. fresh minced sage
8 Tbs. Earth Balance, *COLD! (soy-free, dairy-
1 large sweet potato
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened, plain
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
As needed: extra Earth Balance, melted to taste; maple syrup or brown sugar; olive oil; salt and pepper
1. Wash the sweet potato well, dry and then rub the skin with a little olive oil and salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 375˚F oven for 30 minutes or until flesh is nice and tender. Let cool to room temperature. Puree the whole sweet potato, skin and all, in a food processor until creamy. Chill in the refrigerator unit ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut the Earth Balance into 1-inch chunks and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk and set aside.
4. Combine dry ingredients, including the sugar and herbs, in a large bowl and whisk to combine well.
5. Add the cold Earth Balance chunks and with your fingers, or a pastry knife, cut the butter into the dry mix until the pieces are around the size of walnuts.
6. Add 3/4 cup of the sweet potato puree and fold the flour from the outside of the bowl inward, pressing the dough together. Add the soured almond milk a little at a time, until the dough starts to hold together. The dough will be slightly sticky but should hold together.
7. Turn out onto a floured surface and press dough into a round about 1 to 1½ inches thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out the biscuits and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan at least 1 inch apart.
8. Take remaining scrap dough and press together and continue to cut out dough until gone.
9. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted Earth Balance that has been lightly sweetened (to taste) with maple syrup or brown sugar. Chill the biscuits in the freezer for 10 minutes.
10. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Don't undercook! Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.