Almost 70% of holiday cooks stick to the tried and true when planning celebration menus, according to the experts at McCormick, one of the country’s leading herb and spice companies.

“The holidays are really a time for family favorites and traditions,” says Laurie Harrsen, director of consumer communications. “We also know home cooks are looking for new ideas. They just want to add something special to those classics by giving them a little flavor twist.”

For a variation on the typical sweet potato side dish, change things up with today’s recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Cinnamon Pecan Crunch, which has the added touches of ginger and dried cranberries. Prep time is 15 minutes, and cook time is 1 hour.

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

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Cinnamon Pecan Crunch

Makes 8 servings

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1½ teaspoons ground ginger, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons butter, cut up, divided
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon each of the cinnamon and ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat well.

Spoon into 13” x 9” baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cranberries. Dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix flour, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger in medium bowl. Cut in remaining 4 tablespoons butter with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pecans.

Remove sweet potatoes from oven and stir gently. Sprinkle evenly with pecan topping.

Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until sweet potatoes are tender and topping is lightly browned.

Recipe and photo courtesy of McCormick