Spiced and Caramelized Sweet Potato Fries

by Maja Lukic


It's not always about juices, hemp seeds, and kale salads here. Sometimes a girl just needs fries. Sweet potato fries, to be exact.

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Actually, I seem to go through a lot of sweet potatoes every week. They're a great pantry staple to have on hand for easy and comforting but healthy meals. I almost never do more than slice them into rounds and then roast with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. If I'm feeling inspired, I'll throw in some curry powder and turmeric but, generally, I keep it pretty simple.

This recipe is the one exception to the rule but it's still embarrassingly simple. It requires a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand (perhaps not the coconut oil but it is available everywhere now) and it always works. Every single time.

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There is something tantalizing about the combination of slightly sweet coconut oil and sweet potatoes and the maple syrup gives the fries a sticky, caramelized coating. It's just good comfort food.

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There is not much else to say about this little snack. It's absolutely delicious and can feed a crowd. Just double or triple the ingredients, as needed.

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Spiced and Caramelized Sweet Potato Fries (v/gf)

Adapted from Tara Stiles' Candied Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 2 to 4

2-3 large organic sweet potatoes, any variety, scrubbed but not peeled

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, melted

a dash of cayenne pepper

sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub the sweet potatoes well but leave the skin on. Slice them into thin French fries. Anything too thin because will dry out in the oven but if you cut them too thick, their texture will be soggy and soft. Try to cut them into a uniform thickness so that they bake evenly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and melted coconut oil. If the coconut oil is solid (which is its normal state at room temperature), simply pop it into the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid.

It's best to do this next step on the baking sheet you'll be using to bake the fries. Spread the fries on the sheet, pour the maple-coconut mixture over them, and then, using your hands, distribute the maple-coconut mixture over the fries, coating them evenly. This is the part where you have to work quickly because as soon as the coconut oil hits the cold maple syrup and the potatoes, it will start to solidify again, making your task a little bit harder.

Lightly dust with a little bit of cayenne pepper. And I do mean "lightly." Don't be a hero - that stuff is potent and can be overpowering. We're aiming for just a hint of spice.

Sprinkle sea salt over the fries. The salt plays off the sweetness and is indispensable, in my opinion. Think of the combination of sea salt and dark chocolate or sea salt on the best chocolate chip cookies you have ever tasted. That is what we're going for here, too.

Bake the fries for about 20 minutes. Check them halfway to make sure they're not burning and give them a stir. After about 20 minutes, the bottoms should be browned. Turn your oven's broiler on and broil for the last 2-5 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven. Make sure they do not burn or dry out too much. They should be sticky, caramelized, and browned when they're done.

Hit them with a dash of sea salt as soon as they come out of the oven and serve right away. You could eat them the next day, of course, and the flavor will be there but they will definitely be day-old fries. Eating them right away should not be too difficult of a task, though. ;) 

And the track I can't stop listening to lately?

Dr. Dog have a sweet new song out. I've missed Dr. Dog but now they have a new album coming out in October.