Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Candied Sweet Potatoes, Kicked Up

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?  As far as turkey goes, I'll have the white meat, please.  Mashed potatoes? Sure. Gravy? Why not...just a little.  Stuffing?  No.  I'll skip stuffing any day. I know, I'm weird.  (I've been told that I made great stuffing-- but I eat just one bite of it).  What I really hold out for are sweet potatoes.   As a kid, I could hardly wait for sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows, and that golden crust crunch.  The best.  It wasn't until I was all grown up, that I first made this very recipe,  while watching Emeril Lagasse's Food Network show back in 2002.   This recipe is for grownups.  It has fresh orange juice, vanilla bean and-- bourbon.  The funny thing is, I'm not a bourbon drinker.  Never have been.  But, this recipe has become a regular on my Thanksgiving table, now that my son and his cousin are all grown up.   I begin with 8 sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.  Of course, we need brown sugar.

Next, water, fresh squeezed orange juice (not concentrate) and orange zest.

To me, sweet potatoes and cinnamon are meant for one another.  I received a jar of Red Ape Cinnamon a year ago, and I really like it a lot.  Is cinnamon just cinnamon? Well, yes, and no.

So, this is the cinnamon that I buy now-- because I admire and respect that their product is  all about being sustainable and organic products. I like value and support that.

Two teaspoons of cinnamon, some salt and vanilla bean.  Well, folks, I also received a jar of Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Paste from the same lovely folks who sent me Red Ape Cinnamon.  That was a year ago, and I have continued to buy this product as well.  If you've never used vanilla bean paste, it will become your new best friend.

Vanilla bean paste is thick and tastes just as though you scraped an expensive vanilla bean.  Your end product will have those lovely dark flecks of vanilla bean. Trust me. I love Red Dog Vanilla brand, not because I got to try it for free-- I like it because it's also organic, sustainable and it's a quality product.

So, now the potatoes are cooking away with all those lovely note of orange, cinnamon and vanilla. 

One they are fork tender, remove the potatoes and place them into an oven-proof dish.  We're not through, though.  The bourbon!  As I said, I don't drink bourbon.  So, I buy those small bottles at my local liquor store. (Clever, eh?)

I only need 1/2 cup, which I now add to the sauce. We want to boil the sauce, until it reduces to a syrup.  Be prepared, this can take as much as 30 minutes (as opposed to the original recipe).

I like to mark a wooden spoon with a rubber band, so I know where the liquid is at.  Then, I can tell how much the syrup has reduced.



The sauce coats the back of a spoon. See? There are the vanilla bean flecks.  I told you!
Pour the syrup over the potatoes and then place into a preheated oven at 375F.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until browned.  (I would think you could do all these steps a day or two ahead and then bake on Thanksgiving Day.) Remove from the oven and add a butter (I use about 1/2 stick, though the recipe says to use a full stick) until incorporated.

VERDICT:  I love these sweet potatoes.  Honestly, you don't taste booze.  There's almost a caramel flavor, with a hint of bourbon...just a kiss.  The balance of orange and sweet vanilla, with the cinnamon is truly a flavor party in your mouth.  Anyone who eats these, always raves about them.  I don't miss my marshmallows one bit.

The very nice folks at Singing Dog Vanilla have offered to give away:

A 4 ounce jar of their Vanilla Bean Paste and...

A 2 ounce bottle of their Pure Vanilla Extract.

All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog page (not my Fan Page), and share what recipe you most love to use vanilla bean or vanilla extract?  For a second entry, please like their Fan Page, and leave them a comment that you are entering my giveaway-- and leave an extra comment telling that you did so.    I will randomly choose a winner on Sunday, November 20th.  Sorry, but I can only ship within the Continental United States.  Please be sure that you have an email address so I can contact you-- anonymous comments cannot be accepted.  Giveaway Entries have closed. Thank you for entering.

I always post a printable recipe card at the end of each recipe post. If you cannot view it, you might be using an older version of InternetExplorer. You should be able to view my recipe cards with Safari, Mozilla, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.
If you still can't view the recipe card, all of my recipes are stored on Key Ingredient, by clicking here.

Good luck, and the printable recipe is at the end of this post.




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46 comments:

Bonnie said...

I love to use vanilla beans in candy and in baking. I use the leftover pods to soak into my sugar bin. It's a two-for-one. I use the sugar in all kinds of things later. What a great give-away.

Shawndra said...

The best use for really great vanilla is creme brulee, followed closely by homemade ice cream. I have always wanted to try vanilla paste...what a great giveaway!

bellini said...

I am in Canada and can't win the pirze but my new best friend is vanilla bean paste. As for a hearty turkey dinner I have a modest helping of stuffing mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with a side of turkey:D

Becki's Whole Life said...

These look wonderful. I do like bourbon (in small amounts:-))and I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes. This looks like a great dish for Thanksgiving - I love all of the flavors here.

I would use the vanilla bean paste in some vanilla ice cream. I love seeing the flecks of vanilla...and I would probably serve that over a blondie. These look like great products from a responsible company!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I never heard about vanilla bean paste, but what a great idea. I am longing to make those potatoes of yours too - what a great flavor they must have with all those quality and delicious ingredients.

Renee said...

I love using vanilla beans in Creme Anglaise which I find is heavenly to spoon over bread pudding. I recently tried vanilla paste in some pumpkin muffins. It is addictive.

Kathy said...

I've never used vanilla bean paste, but you can't beat a good-quality vanilla extract. I do a lot of baking, so I use it all the time in *every* recipe.

Kathy said...

I liked the Singing Dog Vanilla Facebook fan page, and left a message under your post about the giveaway.

Pat R said...

As an avid baker, I'd love to receive the vanilla bean paste.........I have several recipes that call for the paste and I've never found it in the supermarkets here.

psrrn@aol.com

Norma's Nonsense said...

I've put vanilla beans in sugar. Also vanilla seeds in homemade ice cream is amazing! Can't wait to make the sweet potatoes.

Nan said...

Believe it or not, I love vanilla bean paste in my scratch brownies. It really cranks up that chocolate taste and does something extra special to a brownie!

Nan said...

posted on fb too because I adore vanilla bean paste (and powder too)!

Diane Wright said...

I like to try new things and have recommendations. So even if I don't win, I may just order some of these items. Thanks for the chance to winl

Domestic Diva said...

We love vanilla in cookies and smoothies.

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Debby said...

I love to use vanilla and vanilla bean paste (when I have it) in cookies and blondies.

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Looks delicious, Debby! YUM. I ordered vanilla beans off ebay, and scaped the inside to use in creme brulee I made. But I'd certainly love to win your giveaway to try it! Thanks for the chance.
Best,
Gloria
P.S. I CANNOT believe you don't like stuffing!!!!!!!! :(

Owen's Mom said...

Mmm... I am thinking custards, vanilla bean icecream and creme brulees. Oh, the fun I could have!
andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

Wave Watcher said...

We have a family favorite yam recipe, but this sounds delicious and I'm always willing to try another sweet potato recipe.
I'm heading over to Whole Foods to buy some SD Vanilla Bean Paste. I love vanilla, especially in cookies.

ostranderblog said...

Wow this sounds delicious. I am loving cooking with Vanilla, I had a Libby's pumpkin recipe that I have cut down a lot of the sugars on and added more spice, this vanilla sounds perfect for the cream cheese filling!

Heather said...

I have so much holiday baking to do and would love to try Singing Dog's vanilla. Thanks for the giveaway!
heatherspooner1981 at gmail dot com

Heather said...

I liked Singing Dog's Facebook page and left a comment there about your giveaway. Thanks!
heatherspooner1981 at gmail dot com

sherry L. said...

I love using vanilla in sugar cookies!! lilsis_75@hotmail.com

Amber said...

I would love to use it in a simple vanilla cake and frosting! Yummy!

Katherine said...

I love to use vanilla in pumpkin pie smoothies!

katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

Katie said...

Vanilla ice cream. The flavor of good vanilla can really shine!

Adele said...

I have never used vanilla bean paste but this sounds like an awesome product! I LOVE candied sweet potatoes! They are my ABSOLUTE favorite Thanksgiving food!

Adele said...

I liked their facebook page and left them a comment on the fan page!

Horse Filled Days said...

Wow, that vanilla bean paste looks wonderful, I would definately make some butter cookies! What a great give-away!!
djmelton(at)twlakes(dot)net

Shante said...

I would love to use the Vanilla Bean paste with the recipe that you've posted. I love sweet potatoes and I've never heard of this ingredient prior to this post. I want to see what else it out there...maybe using it in a pecan pie?!

Great giveaway.

Joanne said...

Cinnamon is NOT just cinnamon, vanilla extract is NOT just vanilla extract and these sweet potatoes are NOT just sweet potatoes! Loving them!

I'd use the vanilla in a batch of cream cheese frosting!

Boi Polloi said...

It would have to be just a nice, simple vanilla ice cream. Simplicity at it's finest.

hsamser said...

Ohhh Debby! Thank you so much for teaming up with Singing Dog Vanilla (and sharing some "to die for" recipes using it!) I think I would totally agree with many others here that homemade vanilla ice cream would be the absolute best, but I'm also intrigued by the idea of trying it in my daily cup of hot chocolate. YUM! We all appreciate the opportunity to hear about "new to us products" and even more when we have a chance to win some of them! Win or not, I'm going to have to make sure I get some Singing Dog Vanilla Paste for my holiday baking!!! Thanks for the opportunity to win!!!

Monica H said...

Yum! I love sweet potatoes too and it's always the side dish that I contribute to Thanksgiving. I've never used a recipe, just throw stuff in a bowl and everyone raves about them. Except this year my aunt said she's making them. :-(

Of course because I love them so much, I will be making my own version at home for just me and Mr. H and Hayden too. He'll eventually get to taste them. ha!

Count me out of the giveaway, I just wanted to share.

Beth said...

I have never tried anything buy plain old vanilla, but I would love too. Thanks for the chance.

Anonymous said...

I would use the vanilla bean paste in my custard dishes I make and also the vanilla in all of my cakes and pies, would give them all a big boost of genuine vanilla flavor yummeee..Just the opposite of you my dressing, stuffing is well known, now for the sweet potatoes I just bake them up and slather with some orange butter, grate some rind of an orange on mix it with butter and mash the sweet potatoes with the butter..pop them back to get them really hot and voila a tasty side dish to the turkey, dressing(stuffing) mashed spuds with roasted garlic, home made sourdough bread, garlic green beans and cranberry relish ground thru a grinder with other stuff and we are good to go..Happy Thanksgiving Day be sure to relax and enjoy all you will be fixing for the feast..Love your blog..great recipes! from a loyal reader daily Mary Jane S. from momanddad00@clear.net!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lauren said...

I love to spruce up rice krispie treats with vanilla bean and browned butter...it really kicked the flavor up 100 notches!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

What a nice giveaway, Debby. I'm intrigued by that Vanilla Bean Paste and would love to try it. My mom made the most delicious sweet potatoes, but my kids don't care for them so I never make them. You've got my taste buds tingling with all the wonderful flavors in this dish. I may have to make it just for myself.

Amalia said...

These sweet potatoes look scrumptious, perfect for the holiday season! I love using vanilla extract in my Oatmeal, chocolate chip, coconut, walnut cookies! I call it the Everything Cookie :)

Yasmeen said...

You're absolutely right - sweet potatoes and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. Yours look candied to perfection!

Since discovering vanilla bean paste I use it exclusively. Such a rich flavor without the price of the fresh pods (I found an all-natural one at a local grocer which really makes it worth the price).

Pam List said...

How yummy does that look!?1 I just was swinging by to look for a rib recipe. And nope I don't add Vanilla Beans to my ribs but by golly it tastes good in Homemade Hot Chocolate Latina Style.

peace,

Pam

Amy said...

Definitely creme brulee!!

mjskit said...

These sweet potatoes look fabulous! I love cooking with bourbon; therefore, I know I'll love these potatoes! Since I'm not a baker, I guess I would be limited as to what I use vanilla in. However, I make a mean vanilla cardamom french bread. I also have been know to add a touch of rum and vanilla to my breakfast crepes.

weencat said...

Too tough to pick my favorite use for vanilla...but I have not ever used a paste. I would love to try some, though!

Alison said...

love vanilla in cookies and cakes and in my coffee. Would love this giveaway!

ann larose said...

I have a recipe for carmel corn that calls for vanilla paste. I can't seem to find it in the stores near me. would love to try some and I love your blog. annanddavelarose@yahoo.com

LV said...

These look so tasty! Bourbon always adds a nice flavor to sweet potatoes. and Vanilla is always my go to flavor for just about anything sweet.

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