Thursday, December 9, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes

Growing up it seemed like every time we went to visit my paternal grandparents we had twice baked potatoes. I remember once trip we finally arrived late in the evening, probably around 8-9 PM. After a 5 hour drive it was nice to finally be at our destination, but something even nicer? Grandpa had a whole cookie sheet of twice baked potatoes ready to heat up for us. Absolutely delicious! I don't think I will ever make them as good as I remember my grandfather making them, but these are definitely worth sharing. They always have a place on my families Thanksgiving table - they can be made a day or two ahead of time and then heated before dinner.

I hope you enjoy these as much as our family does!
Twice Baked Potatoes
 
First, you'll need to wash some russet potatoes. (You can use red, but the skin is better on the russet.) Prick each potato with a fork.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for an hour (unless they are larger russet potatoes in which case you will need to cook them longer.)
 You'll want to error on the side of cooking longer than necessary, The skins will be crisp.
 Remove to a work station. You want to work quickly once the potatoes are out of the oven as making mashed potatoes with a baked potato that has set for a while doesn't work so great. Just trust me on that one.
 Cut a potato in half (eyeball it, they don't have to be perfect!)
 Check for any rotting spots or bruises, you'll want to cut them out.
 Scoop the white flesh out of the potato skin with a spoon being careful not to break the skin open. Place in a bowl.
 Place the scraped out peels on a cookie sheet, you'll be using them later.
But for now we're going to get back to the bowl of potato innards.
 Add butter (about 1/3 cup), cream (I like using half cream and half sour cream) - add until it is creamy,
and season salt (this is a must, it's how Grandpa makes it!) to taste. I actually usually use some season salt and the rest table salt.
 Beat (or mash) until mixed completely.
 Nice and creamy.
Now to get back to those reserved potato peels. 
 Fill the potato skins with the mashed potatoes. There will be a bit more mashed potato than will be level in the skins, so feel free to add a bit more to each skin.
Leave a slight indent in the middle of the mashed potato.
 Add one strip of butter to each potato.
 Don't be afraid of the butter!
 Next, top with shredded cheddar cheese.
 That's why we love these!
 The potato, cream, butter and cheese! My mouth is watering.
 If desired sprinkle with paprika.
 Grandpa always sprinkled his with paprika.
 So I do it too, sometimes when cooking for a crowd (especially one with picky eaters) I leave some without the paprika. At this point you can refrigerate them for a day or two before baking the second time.
 Bake in an oven until cheese is melted (you will want to bake about 5 minute longer to make sure the potato is warm if these were refrigerated before baking.)
 Serve immediately.
 These are seriously so good you have to try them!
 Enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. As an Idaho resident I can say...well done on the spuds. Isn't it funny how we never think ours is as good as we remember "theirs" being. My guess is though that your kids will think yours are the best!

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  2. Crystal -- I'm was just thinking the other day, wouldn't it be cool if I made mashed potatoes out of a baked potato and then put it back in the baked potato? My husband kindly reminded me, They already have those dear. Okay he didn't say that but he let me know.
    My question is: Would it do anything if I brushed some butter and garlic salt on the skin and baked them for a little bit after the potato has been mostly scooped out to get that potato wedge crispiness? Just an idea but if they are already pretty crispy I might opt out. :)

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