Holiday cooking adventures: Candied sweet potatoes

Candied sweet potatoes

Candied sweet potatoes

I eat baked sweet potatoes sprinkled with a little cinnamon all the time because they are so good, and to use a tired cliche, good for you. But at Thanksgiving, I always look forward to candied sweet potatoes, with all the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, and lemon we can pile on (yes, lemon to cut the sweetness). My mother’s recipe is oh so good — except I don’t re-create it very well, never as well as my younger sister Linda is able to make it. This year, Linda isn’t coming for Thanksgiving, and I thought, maybe it’s time to try a healthier version of one of my favorite Thanksgiving indulgences.

So I went to my go-to source, an old Cooking Light magazine, and tried this recipe. I won’t say it was the be-all end-all. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t make its way into my favorites category, not yet anyway. When I make it again, I’ll increase the spices, and I would advise you to do the same. I’d go with a teaspoon of cinnamon instead of a cinnamon stick as called for. I added the juice from half a lemon to cut the sweetness of the sugar, but next time I would use a whole lemon. I might also add some allspice and cloves (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon each — doesn’t take much with these spices). I cut the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Generally I leave the salt out, but this time I figured I’d use a little kosher salt to counteract the brown sugar.


Last year I tried a Weight Watchers recipe for candied sweet potatoes which I’ll link to here. The key to this recipe is the orange juice! It uses less sugar and some maple syrup and really, had the taste I was looking for. It equals 5 Weight Watchers pointplus values if you’re counting.

Below is a link to the one I tried Sunday. Try it as is and see what you think. You still have some time to experiment before Thanksgiving. Try this one and the WW version and let me know how they turn out.

Brown sugar-glazed sweet potato wedges
Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine


1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half crosswise, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (I cut my 7 smallish potatoes into eighths)
Cooking spray
juice from 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 400°.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, water, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Discard cinnamon stick. Combine sugar mixture and potato wedges in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Arrange potato mixture on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until tender, stirring after about 20 minutes.


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