Sunday, December 25, 2016

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes


Just a warning before I begin.  This recipe may include some mild language, momentary sensuality, and may not be appropriate for children under the age of 21.

Okay, holy crap guys.  If you grew up eating sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows like I did, you will recognize the genesis of this recipe.  But this ball of sweet, gooey, oozing perfection is so much more delicious, it's in a whole different ballpark.  They take some time to put together, but when the kiddos (kiddos: anyone under the age of 110) crack these open and find the sweet spot at the center, it's worth all the trouble.

Note: I added the bourbon and still served these to children.  I know, I'm a horrible person.  But I also added vanilla bean paste, and that was fantastic.  So I say go with both the bourbon and the vanilla.  Also, I found these much easier to form when my hands were clean and slightly wet.  This will involve rinsing your hands after forming each ball.  Told you it took time to put together.

Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes
From Screen Doors and Sweet Tea

6 sweet potatoes
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 large egg
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry or bourbon, or if kids will be partaking, vanilla extract
8 large marshmallows
Canola oil, for frying (1½ cups)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Pierce each sweet potato several times and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool in their jackets. When cool enough to handle, halve the potatoes, scoop out their flesh, and mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.

To make the inside-out sweet potatoes, place the cornflake crumbs in a shallow dish or pie pan. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, flour, orange juice, and sherry, bourbon, or vanilla extract.

Working with your hands, encase each marshmallow in some of the sweet potato mixture, forming a ball. If the sweet potato mixture seems too soft to hold its shape, stir in some of the crumbs to thicken it. (You can cover and refrigerate the sweet potato-smothered marshmallows for up to several hours.) Dip each ball in the egg and then roll it in the crumbs. Refrigerate just until the oil is hot.

Lower the oven temperature to 200°F. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer. Place a wire rack over newspaper or paper towels.

Fry the inside-out sweet potatoes one or two at a time for 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed, until lightly browned. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon, and place the drained balls on the prepared rack and transfer to the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining batches. Serve warm.

Baked Variation:
If you have the oven space and want to save a few calories, you can skip the deep frying. Instead, follow steps through forming the sweet potato balls and then preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and generously spray the inside-out sweet potatoes with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until browned.

Makes 8 servings

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