Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon-Sesame Brittle

Happy Easter, Happy Spring! It’s sunny out, and I’m barefoot and loving life today!

As a gift this Christmas past, Mom got me a 2-year subscription to Bon Appétit. It’s such a treat to pull a magazine out of the mailbox every month–especially one with gorgeous food inspiration! This Easter day I made these Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes inspired by a recipe from the March 2012 issue. I’ve been thinking about that recipe ever since I laid eyes on the photo and realized those sweet orange potatoes were topped with, basically, bacon candy. That’s just too fun.

Mine looked like this.

So while the potatoes were roasting I cooked up the bacon and set about making the “brittle,” which consists of bacon, drippings, sugar, and sesame seeds. Perhaps I didn’t cook the mixture quite long enough, or the BA writers didn’t explain the process in enough detail–I ended up with sugary candied bacon rather than shiny glossy brittle. But I don’t mean to say at all that the recipe was a flop-oh, no-it was still a grand success! While the texture of the topping is slightly off from what the recipe intended, it’s still an ingenious sugary bacon topping–with added toastiness from the sesame seeds–that makes an exquisite accent flavor for sweet potatoes.

It’s a hit! (that’s a song)

The flavors are great, the textures are fun, and the presentation is just so nice. Go ahead, fancy up your sweet potatoes. And if your brittle turns into candied sesame bacon, fear not, for you have not failed. Just take a bite.

Easter in food, 2012. There in the middle is the only Easter egg I saw today.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon-Sesame Brittle

serves 6 (6 potato halves)
adapted from Bon Appétit

for the brittle:
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (black or white)

(These are the Bon Appétit directions.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to crisp. Drain bacon and reserve drippings. Return bacon, 1 tablespoon of the drippings, sugar, and sesame seeds to the same skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar turns the color of milk chocolate, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared parchment-lined baking sheet and use a spatula to spread out evenly. Let cool, then break into small shards. (As aforementioned, mine wouldn’t spread out into a glossy single layer, but I spread it as best I could. When it cooled I chipped it into smaller pieces.)

for the potatoes:
3 medium sweet potatoes, washed
1 egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
dash cinnamon

garnish: 1 green onion (green parts only)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place sweet potatoes (whole) on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45-55 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle. When cool, slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop most of the flesh from each half into a bowl, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of flesh inside skins. Mash potato flesh in the bowl with the egg, butter, ginger, salt, and cinnamon–stir until smooth. Spoon or pipe filling back into reserved skins on the baking sheet. Bake potatoes until the tops are lightly puffed and golden brown, 30-35 minutes. To serve, top with bacon-sesame brittle and super thinly-sliced green onion ribbons.


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