Fall starts this week! I’m so excited for the cooler weather, the new seasonal foods, the pumpkins everywhere, and warm, comforting meals. These slow roasted sweet potatoes with spiced maple pecans and maple bourbon butter are my new favorite dinner. Or lunch. And, let’s be honest, they make a great breakfast, too.
I first tried slow roasted sweet potatoes sometime last fall. We have roasted vegetables for or with dinner at least once a week, so trying a new way to cook sweet potatoes was a fun change for our taste buds. The first time we tried slow roasting sweet potatoes we stuffed them with spicy chickpeas. The combination was strange at first but delicious. Since then, we have altered them based on what ingredients are in our pantry.
I wanted to make a variation that was sweeter and perfect for those crisp fall days that make you want to curl up with a blanket and a mug of hot tea. Spiced maple pecans and maple bourbon butter were the perfect additions to make this recipe amazing for any occasion. I have made them on Sunday afternoons and packed up individual sweet potatoes to have in my lunches or as dinner throughout the week.
The best part is, they are so easy! You just stick them in the oven and let them go! When roasted long and slow, sweet potatoes start to caramelize on the outside. When they are done, slice them open and add a pat of maple bourbon butter to the steaming orange center of each sweet potato. Watching butter melt has to be therapeutic. If you have enough spiced maple pecans after inevitably snacking on them while you wait, fill the middle of the sweet potato with a generous handful. Perfection, sweet autumn perfection.
The salt and pepper that crust the outside of the potato mix with the sweet vegetable and butter mixture inside for a sweet and salty mix, and the pecans add a crunch to the otherwise pillow-soft, buttery sweet potato. The cinnamon, bourbon, maple, pecan, and sweet potato flavors mix in your mouth to create a delicious fall medley. Make them for breakfast lunch and dinner – you can’t go wrong.
Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Maple Pecans and Maple Bourbon Butter
4 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
Spiced Maple Pecans
1 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter, melted
¾ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a few pinches of cayenne pepper (about 1/16 teaspoon)
Maple Bourbon Butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons bourbon
pinch of cinnamon
To make slow roasted sweet potatoes
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes and dry them completely. Rub olive oil all around the sweet potatoes, then cover with salt and pepper. Bake the sweet potatoes for 2 to 2½ hours (I used the small ones, which only took 2 hours). The potatoes will be soft to the touch and gooey and caramel on the bottoms. Let cool slightly while you finish the pecans.
While they are still slightly warm, slice the potatoes down the center and fill the insides with maple bourbon butter and spiced maple pecans.
To make spiced maple pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place in the oven to toast for 3-5 minutes. Pecans toast quickly, so keep an eye on them.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
In a separate medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Toss the warm, toasted pecans in the butter-syrup mixture until all of the pecans are fully coated. Pour in the spice mixture and stir again to evenly coat.
Return the pecans to the baking sheet, spread them in a single layer, and bake for another 4-6 minutes, until toasted and scented. The maple syrup will start to caramelize around the edges of the nuts. Let the pecans cool completely before removing them from the pan. They will harden and get crispy as they cool. Store whatever pecans you don’t use in an airtight container for up to 1 week (though they have never lasted a week in our house).
To make maple bourbon butter
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the maple syrup, bourbon, and cinnamon. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined. The mixture may look a little curdled at first. If this happens, scrape down the sides of the bowl again and keep mixing. It will come together.