Yes, I know that it’s August and many of you don’t even think about cooking sweet potatoes until mid-October, but sweet potatoes are good for you any time of the year, so here you have two new recipes to enjoy sweet potatoes with! Surprisingly, it’s almost the end of August and we haven’t had a day over 90 degrees in weeks here in the DC metro. In fact, there are some days that I need a light sweater to go out in the morning! This cooler weather has made our afternoon coffee more enjoyable, and we can try some warmer desserts like these sweet potato candies (we usually like having our coffee with sweet bread or cookies). We always have sweet potatoes on hand at home, and ever since I learned of their health benefits in my nutrition classes, they’ve been a common staple in my kitchen.
Sweetpotatoes work so great in everyday cooking because of their versatility: you can prepare them baked, mashed, steamed, pureed, roasted, and even grilled. You can also use them in both sweet and savory dishes; I sometimes use them to replace potatoes in my picadillo recipe.
Did you know that “sweetpotato” is one word? Me neither! A “sweetpotato” is not a simply a “sweet potato”, it’s actually an entirely different vegetable from a potato and has a totally different set of nutrients. One medium-sized Sweetpotato has only 105 calories and 0g of fat or cholesterol, yet contains more than 80 nutrients, including: 4g of fiber, 2g of protein, and more than a days worth vitamin A! Now I know why so many people used to have it for breakfast in some regions in Mexico. To this day, vendors still sell candied sweet potatoes in the markets of Michoacan, which leads us to th; first recipe: “Camotes Enmielados,” or “Candied Sweet Potatoes”.
“Camotes Enmielados” are a beloved treat of both children and adults alike. In some cities in Mexico, beside being sold at markets, candied sweet potatoes are also sold in small carts by street vendors, who use a loud whistle to let the neighborhood that the “sweet potato man” is approaching (kind of like the ice cream truck). When making Camotes Enmielados at home, some people like to bake the sweet potatoes, while others prefer the stove-top method, they are easier to make this way.
The second recipe is for my own version of a dessert from the State of Yucatan called “Atropellado”. “Atropellado” means “run over”, but I can’t seem to get how this dish got that name! In the Yucatan, it is made using fresh coconut, and it’s so addicting you’ll be eating it before you’re even done making it! I couldn’t stop eating it either when I was in the process of making this post.
Camotes Enmielados-Mexican Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 2 Medium-sized sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
- 1 Cup of water
- 1/2 of cinnamon stick
- 8 oz Piloncillo (Raw sugar cane cone) or brown sugar
1. Rinse your sweet potatoes under running water. Place the whole sweet potatoes in a large enough sauce pan and add the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water.
2. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 25 minutes; they will be tender on the outside but firm in the center. Pierce with a knife to taste for doneness.
3. Once cooked, cut the sweet potatoes in half and serve covered with the syrup. You can enjoy it in a bowl of milk for breakfast.
- The piloncillo will become a thick syrup with the water, so be careful handling it since it reaches high temperatures.
- You don’t need to peel the sweet potato, since you can also eat the peel (and it’s also full of fiber).
Sweet Potato Dessert Yucatan Style - Atropellado de Camote y Coco
- 2 Medium size sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
- 1/2 cup Coconut milk
- 3/4 cup Sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Place Sweet Potatoes in a pot large enough to fit them, and add just enough water to cover the sweet potatoes. Cook on medium high heat, and place the lid on top when the water starts boiling. Total cooking time will be about 25-30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.
2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, place the shredded coconut and coconut milk in a bowl, to tenderizes the coconut.
3. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, set aside until they’re cool enough to handle.
4. Remove sweet potatoes and place in a colander over a large bowl.
5. Mash the sweet potatoes, passing them through a metal mesh strainer to get a very fine pulp.
6. Add the sugar and the shredded coconut/milk mix and stir well.
7. Place this mixture in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid it from sticking to the bottom. It will take about 13-15 minutes to form a homogenous puree. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Serve in small cups, garnish with shredded coconut, and dust with the ground cinnamon.
NOTE: Some versions of this candy make the sweet potato and coconut mix a little drier and then form small balls with it, like the picture above. Other recipes even add gelatin to shape the candy into small cubes.
Do you have any favorite childhood dessert?