Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans are the stuff of which my dreams are made. Literally. I doubt it’s normal to wake up in September fantasizing about your mother’s signature Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, but seeing as my hopes for normalcy were dashed the day I exited the middle school bathroom with my skirt tucked into my pastel day-of-the-week undies, I’ll keep on dreamin.’
I anticipate Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans eight weeks before Thanksgiving, eat them cold out of the refrigerator the morning after, and hide the leftovers from my family. I then carry my plunder on my return flight to Wisconsin, eating the majority before I’ve boarded the plane. If you think I’m joking, it is because you have not tasted Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans yet.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans are the total package. First, we have the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes themselves, which is so lovely, it inspired my Sweet Potato Cookies. Next, we have (say this with me out loud) whiskey and honey glazed pecans. Oh heavens yes. Then, bright chunks of Granny Smith apples break onto the scene with their much-needed tartness to balance all of the whiskey caramel sweetness. We round out the dish with a hit of cinnamon and cayenne, and the entire ordeal turns into one nutty, caramely, spicy-sweet skillet of Thanksgiving glory.
Last week, I couldn’t stand the sweet potato anticipation a moment longer; I baked a big pan of Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans for Ben and myself. Though they were still divine enough to devour cold directly from the fridge, nothing compares to enjoying them with my family in the context of an epic meal. Next week, I’m heading home to Wichita to the warm embrace of family, two full-scale Thanksgiving dinners (Thursday with my dad’s family, Friday with my mom’s), with a trip to Oklahoma Joe’s on the side. By request, I’ll bring a loaf of Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread; by choice, I’ll bring my stretchy pants.
I’ll also complete an annual tradition that began in elementary school: The Thankfulness List. My wise fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Pfannenstiel assigned us to write down 100 things for which we were thankful, and I’ve repeated the exercise every year since. A mix of silly and sweet, the items on the list need only be sincere. I genuinely encourage you all to give The Thankfulness List a try. Each year, it helps me to be more aware of my blessings and fills my heart with gratitude.
Friends, family, faith, and good health will be at the top of this year’s Thankfulness List. Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans will be Top 10. Don’t judge. Who am I not to be thankful for a dream come true?
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans are easy to prepare, bursting with warm flavor, and a guaranteed crowded pleaser. An irresistible mix of sweet potatoes and apples tossed in a honey-pecan glaze, spiced with cinnamon and cayenne, then baked until tender, Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans are sure to become as widely popular in your family as they are in mine!
Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large)
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (a bit more if you like a good kick)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup whiskey (see notes section for brand recommendations)
- 2 cups peeled, cored, and 1-inch diced Granny Smith apples (about 2 medium)
- Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Scrub potatoes, do not peel or pierce, and place whole on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until slightly soft when squeezed. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove skins and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over high heat, add the pecans and lightly toast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes (watch them carefully so that they do not burn). Add butter and olive oil, reduce the heat to medium, then add the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Allow the mixture to simmer and bubble for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the whiskey and simmer for 5 additional minutes.
- Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. Place the sweet potatoes and apples in the baking dish, alternating between the two so you have a mix throughout. Pour the whiskey-pecan mixture over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until the apples are soft and the dish is fully warmed throughout.
My mom’s Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans are a direct take Guy Fieri’s Whiskey Glazed Sweet Potatoes. She uses Maker’s Mark whiskey, which is a fantastic choice for this recipe. I tweaked her version slightly and used my favorite bourbon, Bulleit. Both versions are delightful, but if you forced me to choose one to use in this recipe for life, I would pick Maker’s Mark. Note: I could be biased, since anything made with love by mom earns automatic taste bonus points.