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My mom made sweet potatoes every Thanksgiving and they were beautiful in their simplicity. I never cared for the overly sweet, marshmallow topped variety. Hers were clean and simple and consisted of fresh sweet potatoes, a little butter, a little brown sugar, a little cinnamon, and that’s it. It is her simple recipe that I whip up from time to time through the colder months as a side dish.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a slightly more dressed up version of my mom’s sweet potatoes that I do for the holidays. I’ve fancied them up with a creamy maple glaze but they are still easy as can be. They are an absolute must on Thanksgiving around these parts.
If you use canned sweet potatoes, I beg of you, please try these! Fresh sweet potatoes are wonderful on their own but add this luscious maple glaze to the picture and you’ve really got something to write home about. And, they’re easy….they’re easy I tell you!
Let’s get cookin’
The grocery list – sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, and heavy cream, and pure maple syrup. You’ll have to forgive me for not including the maple syrup in the photo. In addition to making sweet potatoes, I spent the day filling out college applications with Boy #4 and my brain is mush. Thank goodness his is in better shape.
A word about sweet potatoes – Any variety will do but I prefer this dark red skinned variety. My four large sweet potatoes weighed in at 4 pounds which was just right. A little more or less is fine. On Thanksgiving, I will add in one more for good measure.
Here’s the missing maple syrup. Use the pure stuff, not “pancake syrup”.
Grab a pot big enough to hold your sweet potatoes and cover them with water.
Bring them to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let them simmer at a low boil for about 35 to 40 minutes. Check them frequently towards the end of the cooking time and remove them from the heat once you can pierce the fattest sweet potato with a sharp knife without too much effort. They will spend some time in the oven so you don’t want to overcook them at this point.
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Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to a cutting board and allow them to sit until cool enough to handle.
In the meantime, melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan. Add in the salt and pure maple syrup.
Cook and stir for a minute or two till nice and syrupy.
Add the heavy cream and cook and stir for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Using a paper towel, pull the skin off the sweet potatoes. It will come off easily.
Look – a neked sweet potato. Let’s undress the others so he doesn’t feel awkward.
Slice them into approximately 1″ slices. If you cooked them till just tender, they should slice easily and pretty cleanly.
Spray a 13″ x 9″, or slightly larger baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Layer half the sweet potatoes in the prepared pan and sprinkle them with some cinnamon. I have to admit that I don’t measure the cinnamon. I just sprinkle it on to my heart’s content.
Drizzle half the maple butter glaze over the top of the first layer.
Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes and cinnamon…
…and the remaining maple butter glaze goes over the top.
Often times I will make them up to this point the day before Thanksgiving to get one dish out of the way ahead of time. Just cover them tightly with foil and they keep perfectly well overnight in the fridge.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. If you made them ahead and they are cold from the refrigerator, you may need to add 15 minutes or more to the cooking time to ensure they are heated through.
Leftovers are excellent reheated, if you have any.
Be sure and check out some of my other Thanksgiving side dish recipes and fall inspired desserts by clicking on the links below.
- Traditional Bread Stuffing (Crock-Pot Method)
- Very Berry Cranberry Sauce
- Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Walnut Filling
- Golden Yam Cake
- Pumpkin Gingerbread with Maple Pecan Frosting
I am so looking forward to having a of couple of days off work to cook, eat, drink, and spend time with family. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes any type will do but I prefer the dark red skinned variety
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer sweet potatoes at a low boil for about 35 to 40 minutes or until just tender enough to insert a sharp knife without effort. Don't let them overcook.
- Remove sweet potatoes to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter with brown sugar. Add the salt and maple syrup. Continue to cook for a minute or two until nice and syrupy. Add the heavy cream and cook and stir for another minute or two. Remove from heat.
- Spray a 9 x 13 or slightly larger baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Using a paper towel, remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and discard. Slice the sweet potatoes into discs about 1" thick. Place half of the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon and then drizzle half of the butter/brown sugar glaze. Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and glaze.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till heated through and bubbly.
- Make Ahead Method: Follow directions as written. After covering with foil, refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. May need to increase baking time for up to 15 minutes if sweet potatoes are cold going into oven.