Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling, Homemade Mini Bourbon-Brown Butter Marshmallows, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble & Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling, Homemade Mini Bourbon-Brown Butter Marshmallows, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble & Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel 
In the South, casseroles are king. I personally am not a fan of cette casseroles, but during Thanksgiving, I will make a few exceptions. One being Peej's famous mashed potato casserole, the other being broccoli-rice casserole. However, another dish that everyone in the southern states love is Sweet Potato Casserole. We have never featured it at a Thanksgiving dinner before because our family tends to only like savory sweet potato dishes, but this year I wanted to try/make something new and that was what I was set on. The filling is pretty standard, but it is changed up slightly with the addition of pumpkin pecan butter (which you usually can purchase at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or Williams Sonoma). Where this all gets really interesting is the topping... oh lordy, THOSE TOPPINGS. Let's start with the first component... the brown sugar-pecan streusel. This is the standard streusel that you will see on any good sweet potato casserole or even coffee cake. It's put on the casserole before all of the stuff, so it can bake and get nice and buttery and crunchy and all good, ya know? Well, after that has baked, you make strips of mini bourbon brown butter marshmallows and cinnamon toast crunch crumble. I toast the marshmallows with a kitchen torch until they are brown & melty. That's always a good sign when the ooey-gooey fluffy marshmallow drips off the side, always. As for the cinnamon toast crunch crumble, it is pre-baked (and pre-prepped before Thanksgiving, YAY), so it does not need to be put in the oven again. So after the torching is done, just pile on a heap of the crumble in between. My friends, you'll have a sugar coma waitin' on ya, that's confirmed. But it's okay, because you'll already be in a Thanksgiving coma anyway!! Enjoy :)
making homemade mini marshmallows
that are all light & fluffy
and flavored with BROWN BUTTER + BOURBON (boom).
some toasted, candied pecans make everything better
let the torching begin...
and continue... 
until it is melty & toasty marshmallow-y goodness
here's that yummy brown sugar-pecan streusel.
And the finished product. Sugar. Coma. Yes. 
For the Bourbon-Brown Butter Mini Marshmallows:
3 ½ Envelopes of Unflavored Gelatin
½C Cold Bourbon + ½C Cold Water
2C Granulated Sugar
½C Light Corn Syrup
¼t Salt
2 Large Egg Whites
1T Vanilla Extract
4oz Brown Butter, Melted & Room Temperature (plus more for drizzling on top) 

For the Homemade Cinnamon Butter:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter Softened
3T Dark Brown Sugar
½t Vanilla
1T Cinnamon 

For the Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling:
3C Mashed Sweet Potatoes
11oz Pumpkin-Pecan Butter
¼C Sugar
½t Salt, Heaping
1 Vanilla Bean, Split & Scraped for Seeds
2T Bourbon
1t Vanilla
3 Eggs, Well Beaten
Prepared Cinnamon Butter, Softened to Room Temperature

For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble:
2 ½C Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
¼C Milk Powder
1T Sugar
½t Kosher Salt
4 ½T Unsalted Butter, Melted
For the Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel:
1C Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
½C AP Flour
1C Toasted Pecans, Finely Chopped
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted & Browned

For the Topping:
Prepared Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble
Prepared Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel
Homemade Mini Brown Butter-Bourbon Marshmallows (store-bought can be substituted)

1. To Make the Brown Butter-Bourbon Mini Marshmallows: Oil bottom and sides of a 13x9 rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over ½C cold bourbon, and let stand to soften. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, cold water, salt, and brown butter over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 10-12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until fluffy, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). If you want swirl in some extra brown butter on top, and then sift ¼C confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours. Once chilled, cut into mini marshmallow cubes and toss them in powdered sugar until coated.
2. To Make the Cinnamon Butter: beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth, then slowly add in the cinnamon and beat until combined. Chill until ready to serve.
3. For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about an hour. Once cooked & soft, mash them with a fork until as smooth as possible.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a medium-sized baking dish with Pam. Set it aside.
5. For the Sweet Potato Filling: Combine the sweet potatoes, pumpkin butter, sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds, bourbon, eggs, and softened cinnamon butter. Beat the ingredients thoroughly with a hand mixer for about 3-4 minutes to increase the fluffiness of the sweet potato filling. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
6. For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble: Heat the oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat. Pour the cinnamon toast crunch cereal into a mixing bowl and crush them with your hands to about a fourth of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss it, the butter will act as a binder, bringing the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters. Spread the clusters onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake it for 15-20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled. Cool the crumble completely before sprinkling them on top of the casserole.
7. For the Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel: Combine the brown sugar, flour, nuts, and butter in a mixing bowl. Toss until it is completely incorporated. Set it aside.
8. Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, and then remove it from the oven and spread a thick layer of the Pumpkin-Pecan Butter on top of the sweet potatoes and brown-sugar pecan streusel. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow the dish to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with mini marshmallows and cinnamon toast crunch crumble. Using a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallows until brown and melty.
9. Enjoy it while it is still warm!!

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