All merchandise featured on Bon Appétit are independently chosen by our editors. Nevertheless, whenever you purchase one thing via our retail hyperlinks, we could earn an affiliate fee.
Ought to cranberry sauce be canned or homemade? Ought to turkey be dry-rubbed or wet-brined? These are simply a few the Thanksgiving debates we’ve tackled right here at Bon Appétit. And this 12 months, we’re breaking down one other: Ought to sweet potato casserole have marshmallows or nuts on prime?
And the way did marshmallows land on the Thanksgiving desk to start with? Within the nineteenth century, glazed and candied candy potatoes made their debut as vacation sides. Then in 1917, recipe developer Janet McKenzie Hill published the first recipe for sweet potato casserole—which, sure, featured marshmallows on prime. The recipe was truly commissioned by a sweet firm as a scheme to promote marshmallows. The extra you understand!
Advertising and marketing ploy apart, I can’t think about Thanksgiving with out the marshmallow-topped casserole. My grandma used to make the casserole with canned yams, blitzed within the blender and topped with a puffy coat of marshmallows. As a child with an aversion to greens, I didn’t thoughts that this dish teetered towards dessert territory. Even now that I’m prepared to eat inexperienced beans, the candy and nostalgic casserole gives a welcome foil to turkey, gravy, and mac and cheese.
Many argue that marshmallows haven’t any place on the Thanksgiving desk. Loads of cooks, notably within the American South, prime the casserole with toasty pecans and buttery brown sugar streusel, as in Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s sweet potato casserole recipe from The Gift of Southern Cooking. The craggy nuts add pops of crunch to the spoonable casserole.
The Reward of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Nice American Cooks
Although I’m not prepared to surrender the marshmallows—I simply can’t—I’ll admit that the candy potato casserole I grew up with lacked textural distinction. Silky candy potatoes and gooey marshmallows are begging for a crisp element. The easy answer could be topping the casserole with each marshmallows and pecans, which lots of people do. The issue is I’m allergic to tree nuts, as are nearly 4 million Americans. So I got down to discover a nut-free method to deliver a crunchy issue to my favourite Thanksgiving facet.
Because it turned out, the fast repair was already in my cereal cupboard. Impressed by Milk Bar founder and cookbook writer Christina Tosi, who uses cornflakes in all sorts of baking recipes, I at all times preserve a field round. With their earthy-sweet taste and chemically engineered crispiness, cornflakes add a pop of textural distinction to snickerdoodles and corny brown butter cake. So why not use them as a casserole topping?
This transfer just isn’t with out precedent. Loads of Southern cooks use cornflakes as a topping for cheesy hashbrown casserole (often known as funeral potatoes). And Jewish noodle kugel typically includes a pile of buttery, cinnamony cornflakes. Some candy potato casserole recipes even mix cornflakes and pecans for an additional crispy topping.
Now that my sister and I are in control of Thanksgiving preparations, I outsource the turkey and stuffing so I can concentrate on the facet that issues most. To make my ideally suited candy potato casserole, I coated cornflakes in melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Then I organized them in alternating stripes with marshmallows on prime of the purée. The cereal crisped and caramelized within the oven, offering simply the correct crunch. After the meal, I returned to the kitchen for seconds and located my grandpa consuming cornflakes off the casserole.
For the way scrumptious they’re, these sweet-and-salty cornflakes are ridiculously simple to make. No must soiled a bowl—merely mix all of the components in a zip-top bag, seal, and shake to coat. The melted butter helps the seasoning cling to every golden flake.
I can’t personally examine this topping to the pecan model as a result of I’d, uh, go into anaphylactic shock. However my colleagues within the BA take a look at kitchen all agreed: They didn’t miss the nuts. They usually had been into the marshmallows! So give this recipe a attempt—even when it’s only for the sake of that one relative with a nut allergy.