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One of my favorite sweet potato recipes draws on the familiar syrupy profile of that casserole everyone’s aunt makes at Thanksgiving— the one with the marshmallows. But this maple syrup sauce allows the natural sweetness of the potatoes to shine. If I can find them, I like to use Okinawan or Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, but the classic orange sweet potato works just as well.

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons pecans, roasted and finely chopped

Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Drain sweet potatoes in a colander and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6x9 or 8x8 inch baking pan.

When sweet potatoes are cool, cut them into large chunks and arrange them in the prepared dish.

In a small saucepan, melt butter, then add syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla, stirring constantly over low heat. Cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes until a rich brown syrup forms. Drizzle the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Top the dish with pecans.

Bake the potatoes for 7-9 minutes, until the tops of the potatoes are lightly browned.

(Ready In: 45 minutes; Yields: 4 servings)