Despite it being the week before Christmas, I have yet to make my normal pile of sweets.
I generally bake at least a double batch of peppernuts, and there’s often something that requires melting almond bark in my double boiler and spreading waxed paper on every open counter space.
I actually have a variety of baking chips and some nuts already sitting out, ready to be mixed into some delicious treats, but I just haven’t gotten into my Christmas baking spirit yet.
But I did have some nice sweet potatoes sitting on my counter that I decided needed to be part of dinner this past week, which I suppose loosely counts as holiday cooking.
I wanted to make them as a side dish, and while I was a little nervous that the brown sugar in the recipe I chose would produce something more dessert-like, I was pleasantly surprised. It had just enough sweetness to highlight the flavor of the potatoes but not enough to make you feel like adding some whipped cream on top.
I found this recipe on the blog “Wine and Glue.” It’s by Lisa Longley. You can find it at https://www.wineandglue.com/brown-sugar-roasted-sweet-potatoes. This was such a simple, straight-forward recipe that I didn’t change it from her original. Also, don’t let the cayenne pepper make you nervous, it just enhances the flavors rather than making the overall dish spicy.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut in half-inch cubes
- Preheat the oven to 450 and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Dump the cubed potatoes and all the ingredients onto the pan and mix together with a spoon or your hands until the potatoes are evenly coated.
- Spread the potatoes out evenly and bake about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the potatoes are fork tender.
The caramelization on these sweet potatoes was really pretty, and while I rarely peel any kind of potatoes for recipes, I think that was a good step in this case.
We ate these alongside some perfectly cooked steaks, and it was a fantastic dinner. There were also leftovers that reheated well out of the fridge for a later meal.
I’m sure I’ll find myself mixing up plenty of sugar-filled treats sometime in the next few days, filling my plastic containers with all kinds of goodies to share.
The smell of anise, cloves and cinnamon filling the house is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I wish you luck with your own holiday baking (and eating) and a very, merry Christmas.
This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 19, 2019.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.