Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that sweet potato casserole is anything other than dessert on the dinner table.
Yes, I did contemplate sliding some bacon into the orange mash simply to remind us that we are indeed eating dinner and not skipping on to the next course.
But then I thought, why bother?
Thanksgiving only happens once a year and if dessert wants to sit next to dinner, then who am I to argue. I mean I’m the one who comes from a family that thinks apples mixed with cool whip, pudding, and chopped up Snicker’s candy bars is a salad, so at least here we are dealing with a vegetable.
I am also the one who doesn’t like anything to be cloyingly sweet. So while most recipes for homemade marshmallow fluff will have you adding corn syrup and white sugar by the cupfuls, I’ve opted for a fluff that won’t make your teeth ache.
You may notice that I also swapped out the white sugar for brown as I so often do; whereas white sugar just says, "I'm sweet!," brown sugar makes proclamations of molasses, toffee, and caramel.
The wispy peaks and valleys of the fluff give this side dish drama and intrigue that mini marshmallows (which is our traditional topping) just can’t. If you already have a favorite recipe for the base of the casserole, you can swap it in here and simply top your family's classic with the brown sugar fluff.
Serves 8 to 10
3 pounds yams
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup milk
3 egg whites
Photos by Ashley Rodriguez