Twice-baked potatoes might have a reputation for being indulgent and often rich in calories however this recipe reduces the guilt factor by using sweet potatoes as a base and substituting our fused extra virgin olive oil for the butter. The inspiration for this recipe came from Cooks Illustrated where you can be sure they tested it repeatedly. For example, using the microwave oven to initially cook the sweet potatoes worked best to keep the skins in tact so you could scoop out the flesh and bake them into a sturdy “shell” of a base. Also, adding egg to the mashed filling gave substance and smoothness to an otherwise watery consistency. Remember, the skins are totally edible and add great texture to the velvety smooth filling. For better presentation, look for medium-sized, rounded sweet potatoes, preferably of similar size. Another great thing about this recipe, you can make it ahead (see directions) which helps during the holidays when you just can’t fit everything into one day!
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, unpeeled
- 4 tablespoons Olive This! Blood Orange EVOO, divided
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Prick each sweet potato 3 or 4 times with a fork. In a glass dish, microwave potatoes for about 15-18 minutes until a knife inserted into the center of the potato glides through the flesh easily. Turn the potatoes every 3-4 minutes. Once done, let them cool for 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking and cooling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, add the Panko bread crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and a pinch of salt. Stir well to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of the blood orange EVOO and toss well to coat evenly. Set aside.
Place 6 of the best shells (cut side facing up) on a wire rack set on a rimmed sheet pan. You can discard the remaining two shells – it’s the flesh you want from them so scrape as much from these two shells as possible. Bake the 6 remaining shells to remove moisture and crisp up slightly, about 10 minutes. After removing the shells from the oven reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
While the shells are baking, mash the potato flesh with a potato masher to a smooth consistency. Stir in the lightly scrambled egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of blood orange EVOO and ½ teaspoon of salt.
IF MAKING AHEAD:
Prepare as directed but do not top the potatoes. Stuff them with the filling, store in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to a day ahead. Store the bread crumb mixture in an air-tight container or zipper-locking bag at room temperature.
When ready to serve, remove potatoes from the refrigerator, top with bread crumb mixture and bake. Because they are refrigerated, you’ll need to reduce the temperature of the oven and lengthen the baking time. Bake them at 325 degrees F for about 35 minutes.
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