Tag Archives: brown sugar syrup

Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows

For our Thanksgiving potluck, I made this dish, and it is good. However, keep reading since I have a couple areas in which it needs to be enhanced. My first attempt at making it was not as successful as later implementations.

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Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows


  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 1/2 lbs Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 3 cups Marshmallows


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large pot. Stir in the brown sugar and water. Bring to a hard boil and then simmer hard while stirring until it is reduced and thickened. At least half the water needs to be evaporated to make this syrup.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 6 minutes, until the potatoes give slightly when poked with a fork.

Spray with cooking spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drain the potatoes and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the syrup over the potatoes. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the potatoes. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender to a fork.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in the chopped pecans. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the baking dish. Return the baking dish to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the marshmallows puff up and turn brown.

I made two mistakes with the recipe. First, I didn’t reduce the syrup enough and it was runny. And second, I had to transport the dish a half hour to our potluck.

To transport the dish, I finished baking it just in time to wrap it up and leave for our potluck. I wrapped it so that it could maintain its heat as I didn’t want to attempt to use the oven at the potluck- I was certain the oven would be in use. The extra time in transporting the hot dish continued to cook the marshmallows, and they had totally disappeared by the time I unpacked the dish at our potluck. So I ended up with yams in runny syrup without evidence of any marshmallows.

So, what to do differently. First is to make certain the syrup is properly reduced. and second, if the dish needs to be transported and kept hot, don’t put the marshmallows on until you arrive at the potluck. Then, put the marshmallows on the unpacked dish and use a butane chef’s torch to brown the marshmallows much like the chef torches the top of the creme brulee.

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As you can see in the pictures, it is difficult at best to brown the marshmallows in the oven.

NOTE: November 26, 2015- I made the recipe again this year, trying to correct what I thought were the problems- too thin syrup and melted marshmallows. For the marshmallows, I waited until I got to the pot luck site until I put them on the casserole; they didn’t get enough heat to puff up or brown. I couldn’t use the host’s oven since he was making rolls. For the syrup, I simmered it longer- about 20 minutes total. Actually, the first attempt I went 25 minutes and the sugar burned and became charcoal. I made a second recipe and as it cooled after 20 minutes of simmer, it was just about the right thickness. Be careful! When the sugar started to burn I couldn’t stop it; the kitchen filled with smoke and a strong acidic smell, and I had to really work to clean up the pan. (Vinegar, Elbow Grease, Bar Keepers Friend and plastic scouring sponge).