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Kitchen Adventures: Sweet potato messiness

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

In the spirit of last week’s Thanksgiving feast, I continued the feasting with sweet potatoes. Restaurants now are offering sweet potato side dish options all year long, so it’s OK to continue the recipe options for this vegetable beyond Thanksgiving.

Paula Deen’s Facebook page promoted a Sweet Potato Balls recipe so I decided to give it a try.

Warning No. 1, this recipe is very messy. Forming mashed sweet potatoes around marshmallows gets sweet potato goop everywhere.

Warning No. 2, Paula Deen recipes don’t always turn out as advertised. Maybe you’ve had better luck but many times when I try to fix some of her recipes it feels like a step is left out in the directions. It could just be me but most of the time the result doesn’t match up with what she describes in the recipe.

It’s like Deen was all hopped up on butter or something when she wrote it.

While these potato balls were tasty, the consistency and appearance didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned from the description of the dish. My vision was of a sweet potato appetizer. The result is more fitting for a side dish. And it’s sweet enough to also double as a dessert. It was almost too sweet but still had a good taste.

Another tip, take the marshmallows out of the bag before forming the balls. At this point, your hands are going to be covered in sweet potatoes and your marshmallow bag could get covered in the aforementioned sweet potato goop.

Warning No. 3, the baking can get a bit tricky. The marshmallows expand in the middle of the ball while exposed to the heat in the oven. A few of them burst through the sweet potato covering, causing sweet potato mush instead of sweet potato balls.

It also might be better to let the potato mixture cool before forming around the marshmallow. The marshmallow can start to melt if the potato mixture is too hot.

Final warning, you have to bake the sweet potatoes before using them in the recipe which adds about an hour to your prep time.

I almost missed this part when glancing over the recipe and wouldn’t have had time to prepare it if I hadn’t looked over the recipe again to double-check my ingredients.

Taking all these warnings into consideration, this does make a sweet side to any meal. I hope you have better luck getting it all worked out.

Mine were messy looking, but the taste, which is really the more important thing, was fine.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Sweet Potato Balls
4 large sweet potatoes
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large marshmallow per potato ball

Bake the potatoes until tender.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and mash the sweet potatoes. Stir in brown sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, toss the coconut with the sugar and cinnamon.
Press mashed potatoes around each marshmallow, creating a 2- to 3-inch diameter ball. Roll the balls in the coconut mixture.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully for the last few minutes of cooking; the expanding marshmallows can cause the potato balls to burst open. 

Source: www.pauladeen.com.