Sweet potatoes and vanilla are a perfect pairing, as demonstrated by:

  1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch
  2. Sweet Potato Pie Smoothies
  3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Pecan Streusel Topping
  4. Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

In each recipe, vanilla enhances the orange veggie’s inherent sweetness.

I’m adding a new recipe to the oeuvre: a smooth, creamy holiday side dish that incorporates the richness of cream cheese and butter, the sweetness of maple syrup, and the decadence of smoky bacon. (Vegetarians can easily omit the bacon.)

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

Makes 6 servings

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • Canola oil
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 strips bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash sweet potatoes, and lightly coat skins with canola oil. Pierce each potato several times with a fork. Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, or until fork-tender.
  2. Cut the hot potatoes into halves. Scoop the pulp into a mixing bowl, discarding the skins. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute using an electric mixer.
  3. Add cream cheese, butter, syrup, vanilla extract, salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.
  4. Spoon whipped potatoes into six ramekins coated with nonstick cooking spray, and top with the bacon. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until heated through.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Nielsen-Massey