We’re not really sure when we last had twice-baked potatoes. Definitely many years ago, and most likely at some restaurant, long since forgotten. But, then, just a few weeks ago, when we were at a farmers’ market, one of the sellers mentioned that she’d made twice-baked potatoes from those tiny fingerling potatoes, and that they were a great hit at Thanksgiving. Never wanting to let an idea like that go to waste, we figured, hey, we can make twice-baked potatoes, too. While we don’t have fingerling potatoes, we do have little Yukon Gold potatoes that’ll work.
Now, we didn’t really look at any recipe for making these, and, if you’ve been around the kitchen for a while, you probably don’t need to read any further — you may, of course, as we can’t stop you — so consider these another scratchin’ original recipe. Provided, of course, that you consider basic mashed potatoes stuffed back into the potato skins original.
We prefer to use organic potatoes when possible — this time it wasn’t (well, technically we could’ve bought organic potatoes, but one of the local stores had Yukon Gold potatoes for 87¢ for 5 pounds). For the sour cream, we used our home-scratched version that’s a bit milder. You can make some, too; just follow these instructions. Finally, we only used butter and sour cream in our mashed potatoes, but, if you like mashed potatoes with chives, or bits of green onions, or with cheese, or whatever, toss it in. These are your potatoes.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup.
Season potatoes. Whenever we bake potatoes, we like to coat them with a bit of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It takes just a minute, but results in a better-tasting potato, which, to our minds, is a great trade-off. A minute of extra work for better taste. So, once you scrub the potatoes clean, place them all on the baking sheet. Put about a tablespoon of oil in your hand, and, one by one, pick up a potato and rub it with oil, placing the oiled potatoes back on the sheet. Now wash your hands, and sprinkle them all with a bit of salt and pepper, turning over each potato to get all sides.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until tender, 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. To test, insert a thin skewer, not a knife, as it’s less likely to split open the potatoes. Once tender, remove the baking sheet to a rack, but leave the oven on.
Prepare sour cream and butter. While you’re waiting for the potatoes to bake, place the butter and sour cream in a bowl. Add a grind of pepper, too, or whatever you like in your mashed potatoes. No need to mix now, so just let it sit.
Scoop. Let the potatoes cool enough so that you can handle them, and slice each in half with a sharp knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato halves, leaving enough potato around the edges so the skins will hold their shapes. Place the scooped-out potato on top of the butter and sour cream.
Add cheese. Place a layer of grated cheese in each potato skin and press it in. It should melt just a bit from the residual heat, but, if not, don’t worry too much about it. It’ll all melt when these babies hit the oven again.
Mash. While the potato is still hot enough to melt the butter, mash the potatoes into the sour cream and butter with a fork. No need to break out a masher, since this is a small amount of potatoes.
Pipe. We can hear you already, you want me to break out a piping bag. Well, do what you want, but we figured that we already went to the trouble of baking, slicing, scooping, and mashing, so a little piping wasn’t that much more work. Our secret is to use disposable piping bags. They come in rolls of 100 and, since they’re disposable, they eliminate all the drudgery in piping. So, fit a bag with a large star tip, about 3/8 inch star will work just fine, fill the bag with the mashed potatoes, and pipe the potato skins full.
Sprinkle. If you want, now’s the time to sprinkle with a bit of herbs or spices. We chose to use just a bit of smoked paprika over the top.
Bake again. Slide the potatoes back into the oven so they’re proper twice-baked potatoes. Let them bake until they begin to brown, about another 20 to 30 minutes, then serve.
We had these pretty much for our entire main course, just because potatoes are one of our favorite dishes, and, oh, they were tasty. Nice and creamy, slightly cheesy, just a great way to eat potatoes. Well, we haven’t really found a way of eating potatoes that we don’t like, but this is a good way to change up your meal and make it seem a bit more fancy. But, it is more work than just baking, so four stars.