Unlocking Culinary Heritage: Sweet Potato Benne Seed Biscuits Recipe

In the heart of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mildred Edna Cotton Council, the matriarch of culinary excellence, embarked on a journey that gave birth to Mama Dip’s Kitchen restaurant in 1976. A remarkable woman, Council’s sweet potato biscuits became an iconic dish and still grace the menu, embodying a legacy of flavor. In this article, we delve into the world of "Sweet Potato Benne Seed Biscuits," a delectable treat that melds the earthy sweetness of sweet potatoes with the rich, nutty essence of benne seeds.


The Sweet Potato’s Versatility

Benne Cookies Recipe - NYT Cooking

Sweet potatoes, cherished for their distinct earthy and sweet notes, offer more than just a traditional pie ingredient. Council’s recipe takes these vibrant roots and transforms them into tender, moist biscuits, providing a delightful alternative to standard dinner rolls. These biscuits, akin to their buttermilk counterparts, are a tribute to Council’s culinary prowess. A tip: Keep this recipe handy for those days when you find yourself with leftover sweet potatoes.

The Significance of Benne Seeds

A Brief History of Benne in the Lowcountry | Charleston County Public  Library

Benne seeds, often likened to modern-day sesame seeds, hold a profound history rooted in West Africa. Enslaved Africans introduced this heirloom seed, incorporating it into their cuisine to thicken stews, enhance flavor, and add essential fats and proteins to their diets. In our Sweet Potato Benne Seed Biscuits, these seeds bring a richness and a nuttiness that elevates the entire experience. A simple brush of milk before baking imparts a delightful crust color. Feel free to choose between butter, honey, or no topping at all, depending on your preference.

The Recipe

Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting these delightful biscuits:


  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for folding and cutting
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, cold (about 1 medium potato)
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk, cold
  • 2 Tbsp. benne seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter or honey, for brushing tops (optional)

Baking Instructions

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F.

  2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Using the slicing side of a box grater, slice the butter into the flour mixture. Toss the sheets of butter in the flour until the butter is thoroughly coated. Then lightly work the butter pieces between your fingers or use a pastry cutter to break them up and coat them with flour. Stop when the dough resembles coarse sand, with some small visible pieces of butter.

  4. Place the biscuit mixture into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Benne Seed Biscuits, deeply rooted in tradition and history, offer a unique and delightful culinary experience. By combining the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and the rich nuttiness of benne seeds, this recipe is a testament to the enduring legacy of Mildred Edna Cotton Council and the flavors she brought to life at Mama Dip’s Kitchen.

For more biscuit recipes and culinary inspiration, check out "Still We Rise" by Erika Council, available on Amazon.

Note: When you explore the products featured on Epicurious, you’re discovering a curated selection by our editors. Should you make a purchase through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Enjoy the journey of crafting these Sweet Potato Benne Seed Biscuits and savor the history and tradition they bring to your table.

Nutritional Insights and Dietary Considerations

What are the Health Benefits of Sweet Potato Biscuits?

Sweet potato biscuits offer a tasty path to improved well-being. Here’s why they’re a wholesome choice:

  • Vitamin B6 Boost: These biscuits are rich in vitamin B6, a nutrient known for promoting heart health.

  • Immunity Support: Loaded with vitamins C and D, sweet potatoes in these biscuits contribute to a robust immune system.

By opting for these biscuits and replacing processed foods with fresh produce and whole grains, you’re taking a significant step toward enhancing your overall health.

How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes?

Making perfect sweet potatoes is a breeze with these steps:

  1. Preparation: Cut the sweet potatoes into eighths and place them in a large pot.

  2. Boiling: Add enough water to just cover the potatoes, along with a pinch of salt.

  3. Cooking: Boil sweet potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they become tender when pierced with a fork. If you cut them into smaller pieces, they will cook faster.

Now, you’re all set to enjoy delicious, tender sweet potatoes for your culinary creations.

Where Can I Buy Granny Hester’s Sweet Potato Biscuits?

You can find Granny Hester’s Sweet Potato Biscuits (24 ct.) at Sam’s Club.

Enjoy the convenience of purchasing these delicious biscuits at your nearest Sam’s Club location.

How Many Calories in a Sweet Potato Biscuit?

A single sweet potato biscuit typically contains approximately 160 calories. Here’s a breakdown of its fat content:

  • Total Fat: 7.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0 g

Enjoy your sweet potato biscuit while keeping these nutritional values in mind.

Is It OK to Eat Sweet Potato Every Day?

Consuming a sweet potato daily is indeed a healthy choice. However, our experts advise against exceeding this frequency, as there are numerous other vegetables to explore and benefit from. Registered dietitian Rizzo suggests that if you find yourself consuming more than one sweet potato a day, it may be wise to diversify your food selection to ensure you receive a wide range of essential nutrients.

Enjoy the health benefits of sweet potatoes in moderation and maintain a balanced diet.

Is Sweet Potato High in Sugar?

You might wonder about the sugar content in sweet potatoes. While sweet potatoes do contain more sugar than some vegetables, they are classified as "low" on the glycemic index (GI), in contrast to regular white potatoes, which are categorized as "high." This distinction signifies that sweet potatoes lead to a slower and steadier rise in blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of sudden spikes.

In summary, sweet potatoes are a nutritious choice with a moderate sugar content that offers stable energy without abrupt blood sugar fluctuations.

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