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Vanilla Maple Sweet Potatoes

NOTE: A high-grade maple syrup (one with very subtle flavor) works best for this.

5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 10 medium-sized ones)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice

Nonstick cooking spray (optional, if reheating)

1) Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Cook in boiling water until soft (about 15 to 20 minutes). Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

2) Add the salt, vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon or lime juice, and stir and mash until smooth. (A handheld electric mixer at medium speed does this very well.)

3) Serve right away or let stand at room temperature (or in the refrigerator, covered very tightly) until serving time.

4) To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly into place, cover tightly with foil, and place in the center of the oven for as long as needed to come to the desired temperature. (The length of the reheating time depends on how cold the sweet potatoes were to begin with. Just keep checking as they reheat.)

Yields: 6 or more servings

Excerpted from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen. Copyright 2007 Tante Malka Inc. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.

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