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I've got to make (GASP!) marshmallow topped sweet potatoes

I know this is probably the most maligned "traditional" Thanksgiving side dish of them all, but my daughter, who rarely requests anything, has specifically asked for this item to take a spot on our holiday table. So, I'm looking for the best recipe you've come up with for this dish. Any suggestions?

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  1. My mother-in-law does this for her Thanksgiving dinner. Way too sweet for me, but I've survived this holiday dish and enjoyed it. She seems to get her recipe from a Charleston, SC cookbook put together by the Junior League of Charleston. I remember that she added pecans and sherry, which cut the sweetness a little.

    2 Replies
    1. re: catie

      That would be Charleston Receipts. I don't think I have it but will try to remember to look this evening. No luck googling for the recipe. Try your library?

      1. re: catie

        yes, and don't forget some salt for balance.

      2. My favorite version is by Tyler Florence of whipped roasted sweet potatoes and bananas with honey. The texture is smooth with the crunchy pecan topping, although I did end up adding some more brown sugar and spices, because my family likes their sweet potatoes a bit sweeter. But if I added marshmellows, I probably wouldn't have needed the sugar. I just love the combo of the roasted bananas and sweet potatoes.


        3 Replies
        1. re: foodrocks

          I made Tyler Florence's recipie last Thanksgiving. Some of my guests aren't big fans of sweet potatoes, and some didn't care for bananas. But the combination was a huge winner! Everyone loved it. I have one question, if by chance you may know about this.....Can this casserole be made in advance and frozen? I am very slowly recovering back surgery and the more I can get done ahead of time, the better. Normally I wouldn't freeze this, but under the circumstances, I need all the help I can get! Thanks and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

          1. re: foodrocks

            Can anyone help me out with this recipe? I can't seem to get any recipes on the Food Network to come up on the site. TIA!

          2. hpw about making homemade marshmallows? But instead of letting them set up, pour it onto the sweet potatoes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ghbrooklyn

              Had the same thought.

              Two cooks I talked to in the last year have made homemade marshmallows to use in gourmet s'mores (with homemade grahams and melted gourmet chocolate). Both said the marshmallows were only slightly sweet. Not supermarket sweet.

              Just this moment I recalled I had eaten Thomas Keller's FL s'mores and lo and behold
              here's a recipe for his marshmallows and how to make 'em and photos and everythin'.

              There's a stage in the prep when the marshmallows are a thick "batter" like frosting (the pics in the recipe show this well) and that seems an ideal time to slather the marshmallow batter on top of the yams in the pan. Or, assemble the aforementioned s'mores with a nice dollop of whipped thick marshmallow batter and drizzle that with melted dark chocolate.


            2. My husband insists on the marshmallows, too. The marshmallow topping is easy enough to remove if you don't want to eat it.
              I use tart apples and very little sugar, so the dish isn't overly sweet. I find that not mashing or whipping the potatoes makes the whole thing more like a side dish rather than dessert.

              Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks, boil or steam until done. Slice apples of your choice - I like Granny Smith - toss with brown sugar and (optional)cinammon to taste (pecans, too if you like the combo). Alternate with sweet potatoes, ending with potatoes on top. Dot with several tablespoons of butter. bake at 350 about 40 minutes. Top with miniature marshmallows - broil until browned to your (or your daughter's) liking.

              1. Alan, I learned a messy lesson several years ago when a daughter-in-law requested marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. Do NOT cook this dish in the microwave -- marshmallows explode in there. Since I'd never cooked marshmallows before, I didn't know this. Never again. Love the DIL, don't care for this dish but will make it for her again.

                1. I get how some family members will request this...so if you must do it, you can make it unique. Me...I make a jack daniels glaze with a little butter, JD, and a little orange juice or brown sugar for a sweetness (although the marchmallows have plenty for many). Walnuts or pecans on top toward the end are also a variation. It is much better if you make this without the marshmallow though!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lyn

                    My family likes sweet potatoes with marshmallows too. And I do a similar thing as lyn does. I make a butter & amaretto glaze (with a dash of brown sugar in it). I boil sweet potatoes until soft, place them in a casserole dish, cover with the glaze, and bake. Add the marshamallows at the end just enough to brown them. I've also substituted bourbon (which is good but not as) and added pecans or other nuts for a textural difference (which I liked but not everyone else did).

                  2. Spouse says she makes this one when duty calls. The casserole part is not that special, but the stripes of Marshmallows with alternating stripes of Brown Sugared Pecans makes a beautiful presentation.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: AreBe

                      Sounds great (my daughter also loves candied pecans), but the link didn't work. I went to the Southern Living site, but had problems there as well. Must be something going on with them. Do you have the recipe that you can copy and paste? Thanks.

                      1. re: alan

                        Never mind. The site is working this evening and I've got the recipe. Looks like just the ticket. Thanks for the tip.

                      2. re: AreBe

                        this is the recipe I always make for this- very good to satisfy that craving!

                        1. re: AreBe

                          I have to (belatedly) thank you for this recipe. I used it last year and everyone loved it.

                        2. I'm in the camp that finds the marshmallow topping pretty gross. I too may have to make something along those lines for the couple of people who will enjoy it. Since I prefer them baked in the jacket, I think I will use the trick I saw on food tv where Tyler Florence baked them whole, then split and filled them with a streusel that included mini marshmallows. It looks very pretty. I'll do half stuffed and half not, so the pretentious and elitist amoung us can enjoy them plain.


                          1. The first time my husband took me home to meet his parents his mother served sweet potatoes made his favorite way. I'm not crazy about the dish but am still making it for him 54 years later. Boil sweet potatoes in their skins. Cool. Slip off skins. Mash sweet potatoes with a can of crushed pineapple. (At this point you can freeze it for future reference). Heat in oven or microwave then cover with marshmallows and bake until they are brown and toasty.

                            1. I have to admit that I enjoy this dish, and plan to make it this year (though we have Brits and New Zealanders attending, so this might be too much of a culture shock for them). The way I make it is to take a couple of sweet potatoes, cooked til they're soft, and then mix them up with a whisk with an egg, 1.5 cups canned crushed pineapple (without the juice), 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp cloves. (I like the potatoes to have some texture, but my mom used to make it very smooth.) Then this goes into a greased 9x13" baking pan and heated until warm. Then it gets topped with a pound of marshmallows and the lot goes back into a 350F oven until browned.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: James G

                                Paula Deen made one on the Food Network Thanksgiving special. Her recipe calls for boiled sweet potatoes that are mixed with some other ingredients, then the marshmallows are layered in the middle, and baked in a casserole dish. She said you have to be careful not to overbake it because the marshmallows can cause an eruption. Funny.

                                1. re: James G

                                  Does Cadbury make marshmallows?

                                2. The Splendid Table program has an interview with the author of 'Food, the history of taste'. Paul Freedman claims that many of the foods we associate with Thanksgiving are reminiscent of Medieval European (and Islamic) cooking. Part of style is prominence of sweet and associated spices. Modern European based cooking tends to separate the sweet from the savory. That was not the case in the Middle Ages. If that is the case, it could be argued that sweet potatoes with marshmallows is not a horribly decadent American dish, but a node to a cooking tradition that we have lost.

                                  Along the line of sweet dishes: Last week, TST featured a 16th century Italian recipe for pasta with carmelized oranges, and almonds. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Agreed -- along the same lines, tortelli di zucca, pumpkin tortelli traditionally have amaretti cookie crumbs mixed into the filling with nutmeg and pumpkin, then are tossed in butter and sage and dusted with parmiggiano. sweet and savory and delicious.

                                  2. There is a time for Chowhounding and there is a time for....Thanksgiving. Give your daughter what she asks for; family is more important than creativity. Mash up some canned yams with butter, heat it in the oven and put the store-bought regular sized marshmallows on the top under the broiler just to brown them. It's sweet, it's cloying, it's mostly from a can...but it is Thanksgiving so enjoy. Your daughter will thank you and think you are the best cook on earth and isn't this something to be thankful for?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Sinicle

                                      But why canned? Why make it extra nasty just because the daughter asked for Marshmallows?

                                      1. re: danna

                                        Dry packed canned sweet potatoes aren't that bad. I haven't used sweetened versions. That said, it isn't hard to use the fresh. I like peeling them and cutting them into chunks, then steaming. After that they can be used in all kinds of ways - for this dish, mashed with ginger spread, pureed in a quick bread, etc.

                                    2. I'd like to use homemade marshmallows on the sweet potatoes for my young nephews. But is there a recipe that doesn't include high fructose corn syrup? Is it possible to add some more sugar and water and avoid the corn syrup altogether?

                                      1. A recipe in a Sunset magazine (as seen in a doctor's office) used a meringue (browned under the broiler) as topping for sweet potatoes instead of marshmallows.

                                        1. I say give the people what they want. It's right up there with the other holiday atrocities, like the green bean casserole. But, you will be making them unhappy if you don't do it, and the holiday is not all about you.

                                          I nuke mine in the microwave plain until they are softened, then pour a concoction of melted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over them and pop them into the oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes. The marshmallows go over half of the pan at that point, to accommodate the self-righteous, and back in the oven until they melt and brown a bit. Believe me, it is no worse than a sweet potato pie. And you will make them happy.

                                          1. Y'all this thread is over a year old! I'm pretty sure he was making them last Thanksgiving!