Arnold Palmer's Restaurant in La Quinta places Macaroni & Cheese under the heading of vegetable. Now, I am no nutrition or food science major, but that is pushing it a little. Classifying this dish as anything else but a dessert is pushing it a little too. There are, indeed, vegetables in it. But by the time you add all the goodies, well lets just say that children would never have issues with vegetables if we could find a way to make all of them taste like this one. The original recipe called for only 2 1/2 lbs. of sweet potatoes. I upped it to 4 so I could feel a little better about calling it a vegetable.This is also a favorite at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I start craving it as soon as I see a fall leaf decoration in a store. I am like Pavlov's dog. I become inexplicably drawn to the sweet potatoes. So I try to sneak an extra serving of this in October as well. Usually at a Caress Family dinner.
There is still the praline topping versus marshmallow topping debate. I find that marshmallows are a non-issue after one bite of this. I wonder how marshmallows would spruce up cauliflower?
1 cup flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 stick of love (butter for those who are not fluent in Paula Deen)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine in a small bowl, stirring to form a streusel. Set aside.
About 4 pounds sweet potatoes (canned or fresh. If fresh, boil them until soft before starting.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Mash potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in other ingredients. Stir in 1 cup ONLY of the streusel. Mix well. Pour into a 2 quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm.