Twice Baked Potatoes

Phew!  I don’t know about y’all, but Valentine’s Day has turned into Valentine’s Week!  I know I promised to include a couple of more recipes for a “fancy” Valentine’s meal and here they are!  Better late than never?

Our Valentine’s Day dinner here at The Olive Branch turned out to be a success!  We served 20 couples and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Valentine’s Week continued with special orders for sugar cookies and cupcakes for office and classroom parties.  I think we are caught up now, though and ready to finish up February with a bang!  I can’t believe the second month of the year is almost gone.  People are talking about Spring Break already!

As for the twice baked potato… Talk about heaven on a plate.  I haven’t met a potato I won’t eat.  Scalloped Potatoes are for sure my least favorite potatoes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat them, but they just don’t give me that same satisfaction as a creamy, melt in your mouth, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside twice baked potato.

When “twice baking” a potato, there are several steps to follow.

  1. Wash the potatoes well and pierce them just a couple of times with a fork.
  2. Rub the  outside of the potato with oil, butter, or a little Crisco.  (just use a paper towel and LIGHTLY coat it)
  3. Sprinkle the skin of the potato with course salt.  (Sea or Kosher)  I sometimes use Garlic Salt.
  4. Bake the potato in a 400 degree oven.  It will take about an hour.  Don’t underbake it.  I always test mine by squeezing the sides. (I use an oven mitt to touch the potato) You want it to give under firm pressure.
  5. Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them.
  6. Slice the top ¼ of the potato off with a knife.  Using a spoon, very carefully scoop out the inside of the potato leaving a ½ inch thick shell.  Put the potato “guts” into a large bowl.  Place the Potato shells into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the inside of the potato shells with salt and pepper.
  7. To the potato guts, add 1 T of butter, ¼ Cup sour cream and ¼ Cup shredded sharp cheddar, or your favorite cheese, ( I often use Monterey Jack)and some salt and pepper for every potato you hollowed out.  Using a potato masher (I can’t live without mine), or a sturdy fork, coarsely mash the potatoes until all of the ingredients are incorporated.  You don’t have to make the potatoes smooth.
  8. Using a spoon, stuff the mashed potatoes back into the potato shells, mounding the potatoes over the top.
  9. Lightly sprinkle the potatoes with more cheese and pop them back into the oven (350 degrees) for 20 minutes or so until the cheese browns and they are hot all the way through.  You can actually prepare the potatoes all the way through step 8 and refrigerate them (covered in plastic wrap) until you are ready to bake them. (Up to 2 days.) They will take longer to reheat if they have been refrigerated, so account for that in your re-baking.  Up to 45 minutes.  You may need to cover the baking dish with foil half way through to prevent them from getting too brown.

Hope you enjoy these!

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