By The Charlotte Cooks

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Toasted Pecan Topping

From Dishing up Maryland: 150 Recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay by Lucie Lehmann Snodgrass (Storey Press, 2010)

6-8 large sweet potatoes
1 cup butter
¾ cup milk, heated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 cups pecan halves
½ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes and place them on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for one hour or until soft. Remove and cool for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cut the sweet potatoes open and scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add one stick of butter, warm milk, vanilla and salt. Beat on low speed until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Spoon into a large, buttered baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, make the topping. Melt the remaining one stick of butter and let it cool for five minutes. Mix the pecans, brown sugar and flour into the butter.

Remove the casserole from the oven, uncover it and spoon the topping over it. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.

Basic Cornbread
Makes 12 servings

Basic—not boring. Use a round pan and cut into wedges or bake in a square pan and cut into thirds in one direction and fourths in the other. Or use as the basis for cornbread stuffing.

1 lb. Nitty Gritty Cornbread Mix package
1 cup milk or milk substitute
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly coat an 8-inch round or square baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly moist. Turn into baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.