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Chocolate Spoon Bake Shoppe, Happy Thanksgiving!

The holiday season is here and it is a time for being thankful, reflecting, and you guessed it, EATING! Thanksgiving begins the first set of what I call the eating holidays. Next up is Christmas and followed by New Year’s. The second set of the eating holidays is typically Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

What’s an eating holiday? I am glad you asked. This is a holiday where there are characteristically massive amounts of food that has been prepared to eat in one sitting. Additionally, most folks are eating the same or similar types of food on these days. At least this is the case across my diverse family and friend groups.

For Thanksgiving, one can pretty much count on turkey, roast beef, ham, and lamb as the primary protein. A variety of side dishes accompany the proteins. They are creamy baked mac and cheese, greens, green beans, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and dressing. Yes, dressing because dressing is totally different than stuffing. I said it. Fight me! We cannot forget about the dinner rolls. Warm, fluffy, yeasty, pillowy goodness! Don’t get me started talking about the honey/cinnamon butter that gets slathered all over it. A good dinner roll is almost like dessert itself.

Holiday desserts are something special and no matter how full you have gotten on the food, there is always room for desserts. I think we all have a secret spare stomach that is just for desserts. Usually, peach cobbler, apple pie, pound cake, carrot cake, German chocolate cake, and sweet potato pie are available to select from. . Eat your favorite dessert or get a sample of all the desserts that are before you. There are no rules, but be warned that these glorious number of calories can cause much regret days later, but is it worth it? You bet your stretchy pants it is. I read somewhere which stated that Thanksgiving calories don’t count. So, let’s go with that.

Writing about these delicious foods is making me hungry. What is your favorite thing to eat during Thanksgiving? I would love to read about it in the comments. Mine is turkey, dressing, and jellied cranberry sauce. Now, these three foods come as a package and if one is missing then, the flavor profile is ruined. For example, I really don’t care to eat turkey and dressing without the cranberry sauce. It will not taste the same. We are serious about our holiday food in the South!

I am usually tasked with making the desserts and yeast rolls for the family meal. My sister is also an outstanding baker and we often decide who is making what dessert. She makes an amazing hummingbird cake that I could eat all the time. All. The. Time. Seriously. One dessert that I make most Thanksgivings is the sweet potato pie with an in-house made pastry crust. It is one of the bakery’s top sellers during this season. Even many non-sweet potato pie eaters end up having a fancy to mine. This pie is award-winning, y’all! I will share that story later. Now, I cannot share the proprietary recipe, but I am happy to share one that is still quite impressive.

In this Thanksgiving season, I am grateful and appreciative for many things. My health, family, friends, and YOU. I appreciate you for spending a little time with me. Ok, on to the recipe. Let’s make a sweet potato pie!

Pie Crust Ingredients 1. Save some time and pick up a pre-made crust! I have found that Marie Callender’s pie crusts are one of the best for pre-made. Follow the directions on the package.

Filling Ingredients 1. 2 medium sweet potatoes. (This should yield 2 cups of puree) 2. 1/3 cup salted butter (softened) 3. ½ cup light brown sugar (packed down) 4. ¼ cup white sugar 5. 2 large eggs (room temperature) 6. 3/4 cup evaporated milk (I use PET or Eagle brands, but any brand will work) 7. 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 9. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 10. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 11. 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 12. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 2. Wash the skin of the sweet potatoes thoroughly. Then, pat dry and wrap sweet potatoes in foil and pierce with the fork tines. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. You can also boil them until tender, but I find that baking enhances the sweetness of the potato and keeps it from retaining excess water. Baking or boiling, it still will be delish! Bake potatoes 55 minutes – 1 hour or until fork tender. 3. Adjust oven temp to 350 degrees 4. After sweet potatoes have cooled enough to work with, peel off/discard skin and place the sweet potatoes in a bowl. Break up the sweet potatoes with a fork and then blend with a hand mixer until creamy. 5. Add in butter and combine. 6. Add in milk, eggs, sugar, flour, extract, spices, and salt to sweet potatoes in one step and blend on low until mixed well. 7. Line edges of crust with foil to prevent over browning and place pie crust on a baker’s sheet pan. Pour filling into the crust and place the pan into the oven. 8. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the center of the pie comes out clean when testing with a knife or toothpick. There will be a slight jiggle when it is done, but not runny. Keep in mind that this is a custard-type pie and will need to set. 9. Refrigerate once cooled. 10. I like my pie served closer to room temperature though. Top it with whipped cream. I am extra so drizzle some warm salted caramel sauce on top of the whipped cream. Yum!

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