The food coma is
mostly over. I didn’t step foot into a store on Black Friday, only a winery. We went up to Hood River for pizza and beer at Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom – a buffalo chicken pizza with Fire on the Mountain sauce, a flight of beers for him, and a fresh ginger mead for me. There was an absolutely frigid walk that involved a trip to a bookstore and macchiato at Ground before we headed over to Marchesi Vineyards to pickup our latest wine club shipment [and wine taste, who am I kidding?]. Seven glorious bottles.
The rolls I made for Thanksgiving would have done my grandma proud, I think. They’re getting better year after year. I tried a new technique for my impatience. After you let the dough sit for five minutes under saran wrap, preheat the oven to 170° and go ahead and break your rolls apart and put them in the pan. Let them rise in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they’re at the top of the pan or higher. My yeast was a little old [expired in 2012 per the jar], but still worked just fine. Then kick the temperature up to 350° and let them stay in there until they’re golden brown. That took another 20ish minutes for my oven. I had to rotate them a bit as I’ve learned the back right corner of the oven is the hottest. It was almost too easy. Way better than waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.
With what little waiting I did do, I kept sneaking bites of these sweet potatoes. I had to roast them first to have room in the oven for the rolls. I’d much rather have re-heated potatoes than re-heated rolls. The potatoes tested the smoke alarm [again]. I swear it’s not Thanksgiving if I don’t set it off at least once. I see now why the original recipe used tinfoil so there was no chance in hell that the maple syrup was going to burn to the pan. One of the pans I used was a touch too big for the silpat, so it melted the syrup off and became Smokeathon 2013. Whoops. I salvaged everything at least.
They are ridiculously good. The maple syrup is sweet, but not tooth-achingly sweet like some of those casseroles can be. Maple roasted pecans aren’t a bummer either. I wish I would have added more. At 40ish minutes [I kind of lost track after the smoke alarm bit], the bite sized pieces became soft to the touch of a fork, but not complete mush–not that there is anything wrong with that.
Inspiration: Budget Bytes
- 3lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into a relatively uniform size for even roasting
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup — I had Grade A in my fridge and used that
- 1/2 cup shelled pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- a pinch of salt
- aluminum foil or silpats
Preheat the oven to 400° and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or silpats. Remember, you don’t want the maple syrup to leak onto the metal or it’s not going to be pretty.
Toss the sweet potatoes and pecans in a bowl with the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until everything is evenly coated. Spread the mixture onto your prepared pans in an even layer. No overlapping unless you want mush. Mmm, mush.
Bake them together if your oven will hold the pans for about 35-40 minutes until they’re easily pierced with a fork. Stir them halfway through to keep things from really sticking and to redistribute the caramelized goodness.
If you’re serving right away, spoon into your serving dish. Otherwise, allow to cool on the pans in their even layer before putting them in your serving dish. It will keep them from getting really mushy.