Best Baked Sweet Potatoes
Why This Recipe Works
Producing baked sweet potatoes with creamy, deeply flavorful interiors wasn’t just about cooking the spuds to a particular temperature (200 degrees or so). We discovered that we needed to hold them at that temperature for about an hour, which allowed time for the cell walls to break down, starches to gelatinize, and moisture to evaporate so that flavor concentrated. Because the whole process could have taken about 3 hours of baking time, we jump-started the potatoes by zapping them in the microwave until they hit 200 degrees. Then we transferred them to a 425-degree oven for just an hour to finish cooking. Baking them on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet allowed air to circulate around the potatoes; the sheet also caught any sugary syrup that inevitably oozed from the potatoes as they cooked.