Reader Request – Grandma Bachetti’s Candied Yams

Oh, Thanksgiving, how I love thee. You bring me such delicious food, time with family and of course a day off. In the days/weeks/months to come I will scorn you. I will blame you when I step on a scale, when my pants don’t fit as well as they did during the summer. But in truth, you are but one day of the year. You are a glimmer in the dark, cold winter months to come. It’s not your fault I brought back with me all those leftovers; not your fault I kill the indoor boredom through excessive baking. Please, don’t take my predictable frustration to heart. Rest assured I will look forward to your return next year with many a recipe to make.

Boiling sweet potatoes in far too small a pot

This was a good Thanksgiving. My grandparents were visiting from Chicago for the month so we had three cooks in the kitchen. Despite the cliché about too many cooks spoiling the broth, things worked out very well (we didn’t do any soup). Mom was head chef, handling the bulk of the dishes with Oma (Grandma) and I taking care of a few sides on our own. We started around 9:00 in the morning and cooked till 2:00. Of course there was too much food and of course it was all excellent.

Pouring on the good stuff

We had a reader request a few weeks back for a fancy candied yam recipe. When most people use the term yam in the United States, they’re not really referring to actual yams, but a type of sweet potato common in most grocery stores. Like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin C and since they have a much lower glycemic index I try to substitute with them whenever I can. I had never made candied yams before but it turns out my grandmother on my Dad’s side had a popular recipe that she passed along to my Mom before she passed away. Thanksgiving was the perfect opportunity to test this out and test it out I did. This recipe is anything but fancy but still gets my stamp of approval.

Editorial note: I love my mother, but she has a few annoying tendencies in the kitchen that irritate the hell out of me. One of them is using far too small a pot for the job. Please, use a bigger pot.

Grandma Bachetti's Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes)

Grandma Bachetti’s Candied Yams
If you have really large sweet potatoes, consider adding more brown sugar; a quarter cup at the most. The size of the baking pan isn’t important just so long as the entire bottom is well covered. We used a 9×9, but a 9×12 would probably work as well.
3 large sweet potatoes; peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter; softened
1-2 cups small marshmallows (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the sweet potatoes into large chunk of roughly equal size and boil until softened but not falling apart. Depending on the sizes you cut, this will be approximately 20-30 minutes. While the sweet potatoes are boiling, combine the sugars and butter in a medium heat resistant bowl. Strain the sweet potatoes when ready, preserving the liquid, and put into a glass baking pan.

Let the preserved water sit briefly so that the heavy stuff from the boil settles to the bottom. Then, depending on the amount of water you started with, pour out 2-3 cups of the liquid “on the top”. This isn’t an exact science here so don’t worry about exactly how much water you pour out or how much of the heavy stuff is lost. Spoon 2 cups of the liquid, heavy stuff and all, into your sugar bowl and stir. Pour over your sweet potatoes.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, sprinkling the marshmallows when there is five minutes left. Remove and serve within 30 minutes.

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