Meet Kaitlin Guerin, a pastry chef and owner of Lagniappe Baking, a pop-up style bakehouse in New Orleans. We hosted her and a group of her friends at Getaway Homochitto outside of New Orleans so they could disconnect from the noise, and enjoy an outdoor Friendsgiving. We sat down with Kaitlin to hear more about her connection to food, her connection to nature, and her Friendsgiving. Here’s what she had to say.
I’m a pastry chef and the owner of Lagniappe Baking, a bakehouse in Treme, New Orleans, and in New Orleans, “Lagniappe” is a term that means, “a little something extra.”
My approach to cooking and baking is really rooted in traditional southern food and foodways. Growing up in New Orleans, I’ve always had a close connection to food and to understanding that it is cultural and celebratory. After living in Northern California for a few years, I obtained a closer connection to nature from frequent camping and hiking. There’s always something that, quite literally, sparks in me when I get to cook and celebrate around a campfire. Having moved back to New Orleans, I’m relearning my Southern roots and how connecting to traditional techniques of cooking brings me closer to understanding the foodways that regulate our lives here.
This biscuit recipe is one that connects me to my ancestors. Using benne seeds – an alternative to sesame seeds – pays homage to those that brought these grains from West Africa. Putting them over fire, for me, is melding the connection of nature and understanding the intersection of Southern culture, tradition, and history.
For me, there’s nothing quite like cooking in nature. It’s a chance to strip away, to escape, and to come to place where we’re cooking over fire like our ancestors did.
The most important ingredient when making a memorable Thanksgiving dinner is to surround yourself with love, and family, and friends that you want to spend a great evening with. Spending this time in Mississippi at Getaway was the right space to reset, rediscover, and really connect with my closest friends around nature and food.
Kaitlin also graciously shared her recipe for these delicious biscuits with us, so we can all try them out on our next escapes to nature!
Campfire Sweet Potato Biscuits
(Makes 8-10 Biscuits)
- 4 cups of flour
- 3/4 tsp of salt
- 1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 8 oz cold butter, cubed
- 1 ea sweet potato, boiled, peeled, smashed
- 1-1 1/2 cup of buttermilk, full fat
- 2 Tbsp melted butter for brushing
- 1/4 cup of sesame seeds (optional)
- Honey butter or jam for serving
- 2″ biscuit cutter
- 10″ seasoned cast iron skillet with lid
- Digital probe thermometer (optional, but helpful)
- Metal tongs
- Heat-resistant gloves for grilling
Before You Arrive at Getaway:
- Boil, peel, and mash the sweet potato.
- Measure your dry ingredients (flour through baking soda) into a container.
- Measure and pack up your remaining ingredients.
At Getaway—Prep Your Fire:
- Burn enough wood down to create coals—these will be place around your cast iron.
- With the cast iron sitting off to the side in the fire pit, carefully place 5-8 medium-sized coals around it with tongs. This will help regulate the temperature.
- Occasionally check internal temperature of cast iron until it reaches 375º F – 400º F.
- Put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, toss with hands to incorporate.
- Toss cubed, cold butter into flour mixture. Using your fingertips, smash the butter into the flour, until all the pieces are pea to almond sized.
- Add the sweet potato, and combine into mixture with a spoon, just until it incorporates.
- Make a well in the center, and add a shy – 1 cup of the buttermilk and gently fold with spoon until it creates a shaggy dough, adding 1 Tbsp buttermilk at a time in dry spots as needed.
- Turn dough onto cutting board, and pat and shape until it all comes together, being careful not to overwork the dough.
- Gently cut out 8-10 biscuits with cutter and set aside.
- Making sure the internal cast iron temperature is between 375º F – 400º F, carefully place biscuits into pan.
- Spoon melted butter over biscuits, and add optional sesame seeds.
- Close lid, and place about 5 more coals on top of lid.
- Cook for 10-15 min, then check for doneness.
- Biscuits will lightly golden brown when done.
- Serve with honey butter and/or your favorite jam!