Indulgent Side: Twice-Baked Potatoes

We are big fans of the twice-baked potato. While we'd like to attribute our affection to sweet memories of eating these potatoes in our grandmother's kitchen, it's probably more about the butter, cheese, and cream filling those skins. Twice-baked potatoes are not for the faint of heart. But, like mashed potatoes, they go ever so well with steak...

Why "twice-baked"? Well, first you bake the potatoes. Then you slice them, scoop out the flesh, mash it with plenty of butter, cheese, milk, sour cream, or some variation of those, and fill the empty potato skins with the mix. Then you bake them again, usually with more cheese on top, until they get warm and gooey.

While we love a twice-baked potato alongside a piece of meat, it can really be a one-dish meal on its own. (Remember this dinner party from The New York Times? Twice-baked potatoes were the main course!) Add some spinach or cooked broccoli to the filling for a vegetarian meal. For meat eaters, crumbled bacon is a popular topping.

This is a great dish for cooking without recipes, because you really can't mess it up. Add a special cheese you've been hoarding, caramelized onions, sausage- anything goes.

Elise at Simply Recipes has a great blow-by-blow tutorial on how to bake, slice, and scoop out the potatoes. (Her finished product is in the photo above.) We learned something, too. Elise doesn't slice her potatoes in half; instead, she slices off the top third and just stuffs the bottoms, using the extra potato on the top slice as part of the filling. She recommends baking an extra potato, just to serve as filling, if you slice your potatoes in half and serve both sides.

Get her recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes, from Simply Recipes

Who else has a favorite way to make twice-baked potatoes?

Related: Old Habits: Baked Potatoes Wrapped in Foil or Not?

(Image: Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes)

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