As the cafeteria manager at Halls Middle School, Brittany Bolden arrives at 6 every morning to make sure meals are ready for the school day.
“Hungry kids are not happy kids,” Bolden said. “So I like to make sure that they eat.”
That philosophy is a perfect fit for the holidays, and as Thanksgiving approaches we asked Bolden to share one of her family’s go-to holiday treats.
Below is a recipe for sweet potato dumplings, which Bolden’s family eats every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“My mother’s sister and her ex-mother-in-law, they loved to whip stuff up, trying different things, new things,” Bolden explained. “And somehow they came up with putting together biscuits and sweet potatoes.”
The resulting dish – which can be eaten as a side item or a dessert – is similar to a sweet potato cinnamon roll. While the sweet flavor makes it popular with kids, they also benefit from the fiber and antioxidants of a root vegetable.
To top it off, the dish is relatively quick and easy to prepare.
“It’s not hard at all. My husband could probably do it,” Bolden said with a laugh. “No offense!”
Sweet Potato Dumplings
8 sweet potato patties
8 layered biscuits
2 to 2.5 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of Karo syrup
3 cups of water
2 tablespoons of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 3-quart pot, bring the sugar, Karo syrup and water to a simmer for 10 minutes. This makes a simple syrup.
While that simmers, spread butter on a 9×13-inch glass dish.
Split the biscuits at the middle layers, ending with 16 thin biscuits.
Cut the sweet potato patties in half, ending with 16 sweet potato halves.
Place one half of the sweet potato on a split biscuit layer. Wrap the biscuit around the sweet potato half and close the edge. Now the sweet potato should be inside the split biscuit. Repeat until you have used all the sweet potatoes and biscuits, for a total of 16 dumplings.
Place the dumplings on the buttered glass dish.
Once the syrup has simmered for 10 minutes, pour it over the dumplings.
Place the dumplings in the oven for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Remove from oven, flip dumplings over and sprinkle cinnamon on them to your liking, then bake for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Caution: They will be hot! Let cool a pinch and ENJOY!
To watch a video showing the preparation of Sweet Potato Dumplings, visit the KCS YouTube Channel.
Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes this blog, Hall Pass, for the KCS website.