Okay, we should’ve posted this before Thanksgiving so you could’ve made them for the big day (although we just made them up for an ordinary dinner, not for a special occasion). If you’re disappointed that you couldn’t get this recipe in time for the holiday, you could try seeking a refund. If that doesn’t work, keep these in mind for the next big holiday coming up.
Twice baked potatoes are really pretty easy. Simply bake potatoes, slice in half, scoop out the insides to mash with some cheese, then refill the potato shells and bake until heated through. It really doesn’t need a recipe, but we’ll put up one, anyway. This recipe doesn’t come from anywhere, or perhaps you could say it comes from everywhere that we’ve had twice-baked potatoes. Or, basically, we made it up.
Recipes like this have a lot of leeway. You can change the potato filling any way you want, from the cheese you use (we used a sharp white Cheddar), to adding things such as diced chives, or sour cream. Let your taste buds and what’s available in your refrigerator guide you. We do suggest (although we didn’t follow our own suggestion) that you use organic potatoes, since you’ll be eating the potato skins.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F. When we bake potatoes, we like to make a small baking pan from aluminum foil. It keeps cleanup to a minimum.
Oil and season. Our foil baking pan at the ready, we drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, pick each up and rub it in, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. The oil will make sure the skin becomes crispy, the spices help flavor it, and the foil pan can be tossed afterward. Pierce the potatoes with a fork in a few spots to let steam escape.
Bake. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until a thin skewer easily slides into the potatoes, about 60 minutes. The skin will have become crispy, so you might find that it’s hard to start the skewer, but, once through the skin, it should slip right in. Remove the potatoes, but leave the oven on.
Slice and cool. Use a sharp knife to slice the potatoes in half lengthwise to let steam escape and start cooling. Once cool enough to handle with a hot pad, use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the potatoes, taking care to leave the skins intact. Place the insides into a bowl as you work.
Mash filling. Add the cheese to the potato filling and mash to incorporate. The cheese should melt as you work, but don’t work the potatoes too much, or they’ll become a gooey mass. As you work, add the dairy product of your choice until you have mashed potatoes that are stiff, but smooth. They need to be stiff enough to hold their shape.
Pipe. Transfer the potato filling to a piping bag fitted with a large (1/2 inch) star tip — we didn’t have that large a tip, so we had to fill our potatoes with several passes of the piping bag — and pipe the potatoes back into the skins. Sprinkle with paprika for a contrast, if desired.
Bake. Back into the oven for about 30 minutes, or long enough to heat the potatoes all the way through and brown them in spots.
Easy, easy, easy. It takes 10 minutes to mash the insides of the potatoes and put the filling back. We used a piping bag (disposable) to refill the skins, but scooping with a spoon is allowed, too. Either way, you’ll have baked potatoes (which are already delicious), and mashed potatoes (yummy, too) in the same dish. How can you go wrong? But, it does take over an hour and a half to go from raw potatoes to the table, so we’ll say four stars. Agree?