Thanksgiving Dish Day 1: Hassleback Sweet Potatoes with Candied Apples

Discovering that such a thing as a hassleback potato exists kind of blew my mind. I’m not even joking. I had never heard of these before, but of course as soon as I did, it’s all I wanted to make.

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The best thing about sweet potatoes is how well they pair with both savory and sweet foods; for instance, goat cheese or marshmallow. This dish could go in a thousand different directions, but I chose to make it sweet because (since it’s not Thanksgiving yet) I served them with similar-themed foods:Β garlic and honey roasted chicken and these delish Sweet Dumpling Squash Fritters.

I highly recommend using larger-sized potatoes that are big in diameter. Length is much less important – and also try to stick with potato that’s a straighter shape – no curves or twists.

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What You Need:

  • Β 4-6 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (like OceanSpray)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 425F

The trick to making hassleback potatoes is to cut thin slices in them without slicing completely through the potato. To do this, I laid two wooden spoons (that I don’t care too much about) against each side of the potato, with the potato nestled in the middle.

When you slice the potato, your knife will stop at the spoons, thus leaving the bottom of the potato in tact.

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Make slices from end to end on each of your potatoes.

Then, mix together your remaining ingredients (apple through butter).

Place the sliced potatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish and cover with the topping. You should be able to stuff some of the topping in-between the slices to inject the flavor, if you will, into the potatoes.

Place the whole shebang into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until you can easily get a fork through the potatoes. After 20 minutes, check to ensure the sugar isn’t burning. If it does, place on a lower rack and bring the heat down to 300F.

Pro Tip: As I said, because sweet potatoes are so versatile, this dish could be done a bunch of different ways. Try placing a small patty of butter on each potato and sprinkling salt and pepper over the dish. For a fun twist on a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dish, bake the hasslebacks for about 15 minutes or until soft, and then stuff a few small marshmallows in-between the slices and bake again until just browned.

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