Easy Holiday Sweet Potatoes

One of the easiest holiday dishes you can prepare has to be the Sweet Potatoes. In fact, many people think they don’t like sweet potatoes. With so many complicated recipes out there for making such a simple dish it’s of little wonder people think they don’t like them. To make perfect sweet potatoes all you really need is sweet potatoes, butter and brown sugar. The result is a dish that has made many a guest to my house at Thanksgiving into a fan of sweet potatoes for the first time!

I’ve been making this recipe for at least 30 years and never had it fail. In fact, this popular side dish is so easy you really don’t even need to write this down in order to get it right. Since so many people don’t really know how to make delicious sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and Christmas this country cook will tell you her secrets.

First you have to buy good dark orange sweet potatoes. They come in a variety of colors and you will want the ones that look fresh, have orange skin at least as dark as a pumpkin or darker. Sweet potatoes don’t have to be fat. The long ones with pointed edges are perfect. If you see some with broken tips and see that there are beads of syrup that formed where the tips broke off you’ll know these are moist, juicy sugary sweet potatoes and those are the ones you want to buy. Stay away from the light colored ones. Yellow sweet potatoes are dry and yucky.

While you are baking your holiday turkey or ham you can put your raw washed sweet potatoes in the oven right in the skins and let them bake. For a standard 9 x 12 baking pan of candied sweet potatoes you’ll need about 3 pounds of raw sweet potatoes. Let them bake until they are soft throughout. I recommend you put them on a baking pan while baking them as sometimes they will drip in the oven and the sugary juices inside can drip and burn in a hot oven making an unnecessary and undesirable mess. If you don’t want to wait for more than an hour for the potatoes to bake thoroughly in your oven, you can bake sweet potatoes in the microwave just fine. Like any potatoes this works well and if you are running low on oven space or time don’t hesitate to bake your raw sweet potatoes in the skin in the microwave as it works very well on sweet potatoes.

Once baked and slightly cooled you’ll want to select a nice pan that you will use to bake and serve the potatoes in as well. Thoroughly butter the bottom of the pan using plenty of butter. Peel the potatoes and then cut them up or slice them if you prefer and place the pieces in the buttered dish. Then grab a bag of brown sugar and cover the potatoes with a layer of brown sugar. Then add some more butter by adding several cut up pads of butter to the top of the sugary potatoes here and there. I’ll usually use a whole stick of butter for a dish of sweet potatoes. I also like to add some honey to the potatoes. About a quarter of a cup of honey drizzled over the top of the potatoes adds a lot of extra flavor and moisture but it’s optional. Another option is the addition of chopped pecans. This is unnecessary and simply a matter of personal preference.

Bake the dish for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the sugar melts and becomes syrupy. If desired add a layer of mini marshmallows to the top of the dish and return to the oven until the marshmallows turn a golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

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