Like most of the country, I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the best dinner of the year, isn’t it? Family, friends, an insane amount of food, and good cheer? Perfect.
One of my favorite traditional Thanksgiving dishes to make is a sweet, pecan-crunchy topped sweet potato casserole. It’s a family favorite, and a hit every time. That said, there’s nothing wrong with changing up tradition every once in a while and trying something new. I ran across this recipe for Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes and figured I’d give them a try. It really is a single serving version of the giant sweet potato casserole that I usually bring to the table, but would work for both a crowd or a small group. You just need to adjust the amount of potatoes you use. Plus, they can be made ahead, which is always a huge plus on Turkey Day.
I started by baking 4 large, fat, sweet potatoes in a 400* oven until they were nice and soft. When you bake these, make sure you cover your cookie sheet with foil. Sweet potatoes often spurt a sticky, sweet syrup as they bake and clean up is no fun at all…unless you’re prepared. Cover the cookie sheet with foil, and clean up is a cinch!
Once the potatoes were baked, I let them cool for about 10 minutes so they didn’t burn me as I tried to scoop them out.
I sliced each potato in half, lengthwise, and carefully scooped out most of the insides. I left about a 1/4 inch all the way around so the skins would still stand up.
As I scooped out the insides, the potato went into my food processor. Once they were all scooped out, I added some butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, and a good dose of heavy cream to the mix. (It is Thanksgiving after all.)
I pureed the mixture in my food processor until it was silky smooth. Then, I scooped a bit of it back into each potato shell. Once I had a thin layer of potato, I added in a layer of marshmallows. A surprise middle! You could certainly leave the marshmallows out, if you’re not a marshmallow fan, but I thought it was kind of fun!
I had visions of cutting into my potato and having ooey, gooey marshmallow (which I LOVE) in every bite. I made a mistake, though, and didn’t realize it until after I’d fully cooked them. I put the marshmallows in while the potato mixture was still pretty warm. And then, I didn’t bake them up right away. They sat for a little while before I popped them in the oven. So, the marshmallows melted as they sat, and kind of disappeared into the potato, so there was no giant, dramatic marshmallow ooze when I cut into them. Major marshmallow bummer! Lesson learned, though. Next time, I’ll let the potato mixture cool a while first.
Anyway…after the marshmallows were in, I filled up the rest of the potato half with some of the potato mixture and then topped each one with a mixture of chopped pecans and brown sugar. At this point, they were ready to pop in the oven. Or, if you’re making them ahead, you could chill them without the pecans and brown sugar on them and then put the topping on top right before you bake them.
They went into the oven for about 10 minutes. If they were chilled beforehand, I’d bake them closer to 15 minutes. The mixture is already cooked, you just want it heated through. When they came out of the oven, they were beautiful!
These little guys were really, really tasty. My only complaint was that I didn’t think about the marshmallows more and make sure the potato was cool before adding them. As you’ll see in the picture, the marshmallow wasn’t “Ooooh! Aaaaah!” worthy at all. It was more like a little dribble, but it was still really tasty.
Learn from my mistakes! Or, just forget the marshmallows all together. The potatoes were deliciously perfect all on their own, and a great twist on our traditional sweet potatoes.
TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES
Adapted from Smithfield
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- ground pepper, to taste
- mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400* and cover a cookie sheet with foil.
- Place potatoes on the prepared cookie sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Let the potatoes rest for 5-10 minutes before handling.
- Slice each potato ,lengthwise, in half. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edge of each potato half, and add the flesh to a food processor.
- After all of the potato halves have been scooped out, add the heavy cream, butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper to the food processor. Process the potato mixture until it is silky smooth.
- If adding the marshmallows, let the potato mixture cool considerably before continuing.
- Spoon a bit of the potato mixture into each shell. Cover the potato layer with mini marshmallows, and then spoon more of the potato mixture on top to fill each potato half.
- At this point, the potatoes can be covered and chilled until baking time.
- When ready to bake, stir together the brown sugar and chopped pecans. Top each potato with some of the pecan mixture.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, at 400*, until potatoes are hot throughout.
What were we Chew Nibble Noshing on one year ago?