Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping - Get the Classic #Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipe and a Lighter Version from author Cleo Coyle

This fabulous side dish recipe of buttery sweet potatoes and crunchy nut topping is a Thanksgiving tradition for many American families. With the countdown now on for the big feast, I'm happy to make it the subject of my post today...

The classic version of this recipe goes way back. You may have memories of your mother making it or your grandmother. One of the earlier places I saw it published was a 40-year-old cookbook celebrating heritage recipes from Georgia--and that recipe likely had its roots in the "sweet potato pudding" published in the first American cookbook, circa 1796.

Pam Fulk, a longtime follower of this blog, happily shared the same recipe with me a few years back. She tells me she gets raves every time she makes it. And if you've been making it for your family, you probably get raves, too. 

To download the classic version 
of this recipe, click here
* * * * *

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.
Cleo Coyle's (Lighter)
Sweet Potato Casserole
with Brown Sugar and Pecans

I started with the classic casserole in the recipe above, cut an entire stick of butter, some of the sugar, and a small amount of flour. The results? I didn't miss them and neither did my husband, who is never coy about his opinion on good eats. 

To quote Marc after his first forkful, "Oh, yeah!"

The recipe is versatile, as well. You can make the casserole with brown sugar alone or with maple syrup. You can make it with dairy products or non-dairy.

Finally, I have a tip for making the process a snap on Thanksgiving day: Instead of following the traditional recipe of peeling, dicing, boiling, and mashing the sweet potatoes, try simply baking them alongside your turkey. 

If you follow my method for baking the sweet potatoes, they'll be just as moist as the boiled version, but with less fuss and cleanup. And (the best reason to do this...) baking the potatoes will help them retain more nutrition and flavor. 

Now let's get cookin'!

Click here to get
the recipe PDF.
 To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, share, or save, click here.

For the casserole:

3 - 4 medium to large sweet potatoes (You will use these to
        make 3-1/2 cups 
cooked and mashed sweet potatoes)

1/4 cup light brown sugar*
1/4 cup pure maple syrup*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup milk (cow’s low-fat milk or dairy-free almond)
4 tablespoons butter melted (or dairy-free margarine, melted)

*To make this recipe without maple syrup, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and reduce the amount of cooked, mashed sweet potatoes by 1/4 cup.

For the topping:

4 Tablespoons butter, melted (or dairy-free margarine, melted)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Generous pinch of table salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Step 1 – Easy-bake sweet potatoes (you can either bake these with your turkey or the night before your Thanksgiving meal): Wash the sweet potatoes and leave skins wet. Tap your inner serial killer and stab the taters a few times with a knife to prevent them from exploding in the oven.

Wrap the sweet potatoes tightly in aluminum foil and bake them in a well-preheated 350 degree F. oven for 90 minutes. Remove them from the oven, but do not unwrap! Allow them to cool in their foil cocoons for 30 minutes. This will keep them nice and moist. Now open and slice each potato in half.

As shown above, scoop out the still-warm flesh, 
which is now very close to pre-mashed for you.

A fork will make quick work of the mashing. 
See the photos above and below.
You want a nice, even consistency. 

Step 2 – Assemble the casserole: Measure out 3-1/2 cups of the cooked and mashed sweet potatoes and combine them with the rest of the casserole ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a well-buttered casserole dish (1-1/2 to 2 quarts in size). The dish you see below is 1-1/2 quarts.

Step 3 – Make the casserole topping: Melt the butter (or margarine) in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from heat, add the topping ingredients to the pan, stir well. The mixture should be damp and crumbly. Distribute it evenly over the casserole top. 

Bake at 350° F. for about 40 minutes. Casserole will be bubbling when finished and some liquid will appear to be pooling in the topping. Don’t worry. As the dish cools, the liquid will settle back into the casserole and the top will become crusty, crunchy, and delicious. So you'll be all set to...

Click here to get
the recipe PDF, and...

Eat with Thanksgiving joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Coming December 1st
the NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Now a Mystery Guild Selection

And a Baker & Taylor Fall Trends Pick

Includes great 
American recipes!

To learn moreclick here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

The Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter

Fun Contests, New Recipes, 
Book News, Videos, and more...

To subscribe, click here.

* * * *


  1. Oh my! Does that sound good!

    My mother's classic was to put the mashed sweet potatoes into orange halves (the juice having been used to mash the potatoes, thus leaving the half empty). Pecans and little marshmallows went on top and it was heated in the oven. I could live without the marshmallows, but the presentation in the orange halves was pretty cool.
    Thanks for a great idea.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you delightful cook/writers.

    1. Libby - Okay, I *have* to try your mom's trick (although I'm with you and will leave out the marshmallows)! Sounds like a lot of fun, and, more importantly, a lot of nice memories for you.

      It's always a pleasure to see you in the Kitchen, Libby, thanks for dropping by and enjoy the countdown to the big feast!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Replies
    1. Patricia - I'll take that "yum," thank you! And I'm passing you a virtual plate...

      I hope you're enjoying the fall
      and the countdown to Thanksgiving!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Looks beautiful and delicious - I love the lighter and less sweet version. I foresee happy eaters all around the table, Cleo!



  4. Cleo, how funny. I was looking for a sweet potato recipe. I went to our new Thanksgiving page, saw this and copied it for Thanksgiving. You posted it there before here. Too funny! It looks delish!!!!!

    Daryl / Avery

  5. Love Marc's response. LOL! Everyone needs a trusty taster! I have to try baking sweet potatoes instead of cutting them up.

  6. You and Marc are so funny. The boys and I will love this.