Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Surprise

twice baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows - 1 -IMG_0822_1
I bought a sack of Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes a couple of weeks ago, and now need to find many ways to cook them. Fortunately, sweet potatoes are versatile, lending their use to a wide variety of recipes from desserts to side dishes and even biscuits (the subject of a future post). They are relatively bland and can be combined with many seasonings–I even found a recipe for curried shrimp-sweet potato soup which sounded interesting.

My favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes is simply to bake them. It’s easy, fool-proof and tasty. Given the wide range of flavors that go along with sweet potatoes, I also like to stuff the baked sweet potatoes with an assortment of ingredients. The possibilities are endless.

 

Some of the twice-baked sweet potato surprise combinations I’ve subjected my family to this past week are:

  • bourbon sweet potatoes with pecan-praline topping,
  • pineapple & rosemary sweet potatoes with marshmallows,
  • crunchy sweet potatoes with garlic-salad topping mix,
  • sweet potatoes with Granny Smith apples (and onions).

And the crowd favorite was marshmallows!

Read on to learn how to bake sweet potatoes and make the surprise stuffings.

For baking, I suggest selecting small to medium potatoes. Large sweet potatoes take longer to bake, and easily make two servings.  Pictured above are medium potatoes which are 6 potatoes per 3 lb. (Small potatoes are about 6 potatoes per 2 lb. which actually make a reasonable serving. Large potatoes are about 6 potatoes per 4 lb.)

The premise for baking sweet potatoes is to bake them in a rather hot oven (375 degrees), and prick the potatoes every several inches with a knife so the steam can escape as they bake. To keep the skin from drying out as they bake, I rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the skin. Very simple.

Baking times at 375 degrees are:

  • small potatoes – 40 minutes
  • medium potatoes – 50 – 60 minutes
  • large potatoes – 1 hour, 20 minutes

Remove the potatoes from the oven when the inside is soft (when pierced with a knife), let them cool so they can be handled. Take a knife and make an oval marking around the top of the potato.

partially stuffed sweet potatoes - IMG_0820_1Remove the skin from this area. Then scoop out the inside of the potato, leaving a layer of potatoes around the edges.

Whip the potatoes that you’ve scooped out, along with butter, milk, salt and pepper (or other seasonings) until creamy. Then add surprise ingredients. Refill the potatoes, bake about 20 – 30 additional minutes at 350 degrees. Top with marshmallows (or other topping) and bake at 400 degrees for a few minutes longer to melt and brown the marshmallows.

Four medium baked sweet potatoes yielded 1 cup pulp.

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with Praline-Pecan Topping:

  • 1 cup sweet potato pulp
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp margarine
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon whiskey

Heat milk and margarine in microwave oven about a minute (or on stove top until milk is steamy and margarine melted). Add to pulp in medium bowl along with salt, pepper and whiskey. Whip until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Refill the sweet potato shells. For topping, crumble brown sugar, flour and margarine with fork until combined. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake about 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Add pecans to topping and bake 10 minutes longer.

Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp margarine (not melted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Pineapple and Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato pulp
  • 1/4 cup drained, unsweetened crushed pineapple
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp margarine, melted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • dash salt
  • marshmallows

Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Refill sweet potato shells, bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. Turn oven to 400 degrees. Add either regular size or miniature marshmallows to tops of sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake up to 5 minutes longer, until marshmallows melt and brown.

Crunchy Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Salad Topping Mix

This one turned out to be the family favorite.  Any dried salad topping mix could be substituted for the one listed here.

  • 1 cup sweet potato pulp
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp margarine
  • 1/4 cup McCormick Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad Toppins mix
  • marshmallows

Heat milk and margarine in microwave oven about a minute  (or on stove top until milk is steamy and margarine melted). Add to pulp in medium bowl along with the dried salad topping mix. Whip until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Refill the sweet potato shells. Bake about 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Add marshmallows, either regular size or miniature ones, and bake up to 5 minutes additional, until marshmallows are melted and browned.

Sweet Potatoes with Granny Smith Apples and Onions

  • 1 cup sweet potato pulp
  • 1 Tbsp margarine
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • marshmallows (optional)

Melt margarine in small skillet, add onion and saute until onion is translucent and soft. Add apple and apple cider, reduce and simmer about 15 minutes until apple is soft. in medium bowl, whip sweet potato pulp until smooth. Add onion and apple mix, brown sugar, add cinnamon if desired. Refill sweet potato shells and bake 20-30 minutes until heated through. If desired, add the marshmallows to this one too, and heat at 400 degrees for up to 5 minutes until marshmallows melt and brown.

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