We are officially one week away from the start of “Holiday Season.”
Thanksgiving kicks off 5-6 weeks of excess in all things food and drink related: Happy Hours, Office Parties, Open Houses, Secular Celebrations, End of Year and New Year’s Day blowouts that inevitably result in most people’s pants feeling a bit too snug.
I wouldn’t want to keep anyone, least of all myself, from indulging to the limits of their pants (and beyond), so it’s officially also the kickoff for all of the recipes for the rich, gooey, fattening, but oh so yummy foods I’ll be serving at celebrations from now through the end of the year.
Since Thanksgiving is the first holiday where I’ll be hosting a crowd, I’ll start with the side dish I prepare instead of the candied yams of my youth.
You know the ones am talking about: A can or two of yam chunks mixed with an orange juice, brown sugar type concoction, chunks of butter, chopped pecans, and piled high with mini-marshmallows then baked until they are bubbly and the marshmallows are a delightful shade of brown.
I’m certainly not knocking this old school family treat, but I like the opportunity the availability of fresh ingredients gives me to keep the flavor while cutting some of the fat and calories.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnap Streusel
- 6 Large Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)
- 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Butter (Melted)
- 1/2 Cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 to 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (to taste)
- 2 TBLS All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Cold Butter, Cut into Pieces
- 32 Coarsely Crushed Gingersnap Cookies (Not too fine)
- Additional 1/4 Cup Butter (Melted)
Peel sweet potatoes, cut into slices and cook in boiling water to cover over medium heat 25 – 30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and put into large bowl then mash (leave some chunks).
Combine mashed sweet potato, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and next 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart or 13″ x 9″ baking dish.
To make the streusel: Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter with a pastry blender (or two forks at opposite directions) until crumbly. Stir in crushed gingersnaps. Sprinkle streusel over sweet potatoes. Drizzle the additional ¼ cup butter over the top of the streusel. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 – 30 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.
Make Ahead: Prepare sweet potato filling, and spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and chill overnight. Microwave on HIGH 10 minutes or until hot. Prepare streusel, and sprinkle over filling. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.
My family become such big fans of this recipe that I get asked, even on non-holidays, to bring it to dinner. 🙂 Tomorrow, Let’s talk turkey!
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