I know, I know, Thanksgiving is over and you could probably use a break from sweet potatoes. But I just need to share this with you guys anyway. Of course it is perfect for Thanksgiving, but it would also be great alongside your Christmas ham. It is never too early to start planning, and I've got a bunch of Christmas cookies headed your way, so I need to share this now!
As you might have guessed, I was put on the sweet potato casserole committee for Thanksgiving. Well the sweet potato casserole, cherry pie and cranberry apple sauce committee to be more precise, but who's counting. ;-) My grandpa was very specific that he'd like the one with the pecans and not the marshmallows. My little sister Chloe prefers the one with the marshmallows, so I made them along with Great-Grandma's Egg Noodles the weekend before Thanksgiving to knock those two items off the required list for Thanksgiving. Hey, if it's served in the same week, it counts, right? Besides we can only take so many things to grandma's.
I was considering making the basic sweet potato casserole, but I couldn't get maple out of my mind. So, of course I had to do some tweaking. I also kept wanting to put oatmeal in the topping, so you know what? I did it! And none of the recipes I pulled up had any cinnamon in them. I didn't want it to be overwhelming, but it seemed like a little cinnamon would be just the perfect thing with my maple syrup and oatmeal crunch topping. And that is how this beauty was born!
I tell you what, the end product was pretty darn tasty. (Yes, I do say so myself. Somebody has to toot my horn, even if it is myself!) It was delicious as part of the turkey dinner. But you know when I enjoyed it even more? Later that night! I ate enough dinner that I only had a tiny piece of pie at grandma's. I left feeling so full that I couldn't think of eating more than that. But low and behold, a few hours later once I had changed to jammie pants and hit the couch, I could really go for something sweet. It turns out this was just the thing! It definitely hit the spot. Plus then I could tell myself I was just eating leftover dinner and not dessert! ;-) Ha! Girl math is funny sometimes, isn't it?
Now, this recipe is enough to serve a small army. I do come from a big family, so that is how we roll. But you could easily cut it in half and bake it in a 9x13" casserole instead. Just reduce the time to 35-40 minutes and you should be in good shape!
Maple Crunch Sweet Potato Casserole
8 lbs sweet potatoes or 6 40 oz cans of sweet potatoes
1 1/3 cups maple syrup
4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 scant tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 - 2 cups pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
- If using fresh sweet potatoes, peel, cut into large chunks and boil until soft enough to mash. Then drain completely. If using canned sweet potatoes, drain well.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, mash sweet potatoes until mostly smooth.
- Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. Spread in a 11x15" or 5 quart casserole dish (I used my lasagna pan.)
- In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, pecans, flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it is heated throughout.
*To make a smaller batch, you can cut the recipe in half and bake in a 9x13" pan for 35-40 minutes.