There’s something classic about the classic Sweet Potato Casserole. By the end of this post I hope you will find your “sweet potato style”. Let me be your guide.
You can serve baked sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, or scalloped sweet potatoes. You could try twice baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato chips, or sweet potato fries. Perhaps you would go for dessert and make sweet potato pie. You might even go crazy and make things like sweet potato gnocchi, sweet potato chili, or sweet potato risotto.
Have I said ‘sweet potato’ enough in this post yet?
Good, because I’m going to be saying it again.
No matter how many sweet potato concoctions I (or you) might come up with… there’s really nothing that can take the place of the classic, the one the only, the sweet potato casserole.
Growing up at Thanksgiving ours was always decked with mini marshmallows. And just to be clear… I LOVED it. I still do.
I knew I was doing “S is for Sweet Potatoes” so I volunteered to bring the sweet potato casserole for my family’s Thanksgiving spread. But this year I thought I would shake things up a bit and come up with some new toppings.
Fear not. I didn’t mess with the sweet potatoes themselves. They are still whipped…. you can make them smooth or chunky… whatever flips your pancake.
I was going to save my recipe and post this next year prior to Thanksgiving, but then I realized that a lot of families serve sweet potatoes all through the holiday season and for Christmas dinner, as well. SO,…. I decided to let you in on my newest recipe…. “Sweet Potato Casserole Three Ways: Sunrise Style, S’mores Style, and Streusel Style”.
Which style do you think you would like best? Me, I thought S’mores would be my favorite hands-down. It tied. Three ways. I can’t decide. Okay maybe Sunrise if I had to choose.
No S’mores. No… maybe the Streusel. No. S’mores. Definitely S’mores. Or Sunrise.
Please don’t make me choose.
Actually there are six possible combinations. You could do Smooth with a Sunrise topping, Chunky with the S’mores topping, Smooth with the Streusel topping, Chunky with the…. okay, you get the picture, right? What I’m trying to say is that there are a lot of possibilities here.
Let’s start with the sweet potatoes first. Then the toppings.
I made them both smooth and chunky but I’ll just show you the smooth version. The chunky version is written in detail in the recipe though, so fret not if you are a proponent of this style. I just like mine creamier, silkier. If you think this is too much like baby food then make ’em chunkier. Fine with me. I give you permission. I’m sure you’re relieved.
The only thing missing here are the spices. You’ll see them in a bit.
First I peeled my sweet potatoes and cubed them up. Then I steamed them until they were nice and tender…
While they were steaming I made an insanely scrumptious concoction….
It started with… what else… BUTTER.
Brown sugar. Oh yes. Yum.
Maple syrup. One of my favorite things on the planet. I would drink it straight from the bottle if that wasn’t weird. I may have done that once or twice in my lifetime. Or lots of times. Never mind.
Whole milk and heavy cream. Do you see why I said this was a crazy delicious mixture?
Time for those spices I told you about. Cinnamon….
Freshly grated nutmeg. Buy the WHOLE nutmegs. Grate ’em. Yummo.
A touch of salt to bring out all the flavors and balance the sweetness just a tad.
And, you’re in business. Heat and whisk that creamy, sugary mixture until the sugar is dissolved and it’s hot but not boiling. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a food processor…
OR a mixing bowl…
And pour that decadently delish mixture over the top.
Puree the sweet potatoes in the processor or do it using an electric mixer.
I found I had the smoothest results with my food processor, but if you don’t have one the electric mixer does a pretty good job. You may have to mash out some stubborn chunks, but you should still get a pretty smooth texture if you go this route.
And the sweet potatoes… are done.
Time for the toppings baby!
And I mean that as politely as possible.
Sunrise. S’mores. Streusel.
It makes sense to start with the Sunrise topping.
It’s the first thing that happens everyday. Whether we see it or not. Most of the time, in Phoenix, we see it. We might despise it in the summer and love it in the Fall, Winter, and Spring… but we usually see it either way. Not too many cloudy days ’round here.
This topping reminds me of breakfast. Most of us eat breakfast slightly before or after sunrise. Most of us.
First you toast some pecans in a bit of butter.
Add honey granola to a mixing bowl. No nuts or dried fruit already included please.
Chop those toasted pecans. Add them in there with your granola.
Dried cranberries next…
And the mixture is done!
Easy, right? The only other ingredient is maple syrup, which you drizzle over the top before baking this topping over the sweet potatoes.
Next up…. the S’mores topping. I love S’mores. I want S’more of it every time I have it. I think you’ll want s’more of this topping after you try it. Maybe it is my favorite after all.
Again, start with BUTTER.
Then cinnamon and sugar.
Holy cow. Yum.
Sigh. I love cinnamon sugar.
Now the pecans. I want to be a pecan right about now.
Once they’re coated in deliciousness, they get added to a food processor.
Along with some graham crackers…
And you end up with this…
Dredge it over your whipped sweet potatoes. Drizzle it with maple syrup. Dot it with mini marshmallows.
Dredge. Drizzle. Dot.
And finally, the Streusel topping.
Can you guess what we start with?
That’s right. I like to save the paper wrapper from my softened butter sticks because there’s always a bit of butter left behind. I refrigerate them and use them to grease pans when needed. No mess on my fingers an enough butter for the job.
Brown sugar and flour are in there with the butter.
Then pecans. They are the common denominator between the three toppings. Them and the butter.
I mixed the butter, brown sugar, and flour together.
I toasted my pecans…
I always toast a few extra (or several extra) for the snacking I’ll inevitably do once the toasting is complete.
In with the butter mixture goes some cinnamon.
Then I give the pecans a rough chop and they’re added into the mix.
Time to the top the casserole yet again!
And yes, your eyes do not mistake you, there is a FOURTH topping. Just plain mini-marshmallows. In hind sight I would not have put them on the same casserole as the streusel. It needed a bit longer to become bubbly and brown, but the marshmallows were looking a bit too brown and it was time to take it out. The streusel gets browned a bit better with a bit more time but it wasn’t worth burning the marshmallows over.
Time to bake! About 20 minutes. 400°F.
Time to choose!
Here’s that handy printable recipe for you.
Just to be sure I say it enough in this post… enjoy your sweet potato casserole and let me know which topping appeals to your taste buds!