I cannot stress how much I love these potatoes.

I always use Yukon Gold, as they are my favorite type of spud, but I imagine any baking potato would suffice. These are a staple at any holiday family gathering, and if they aren't on the menu, I always fix that promptly. These also re-heat well, so if you make too many, have them the next day! You can also use them to make wonderful potato skins, although I don't eat that part and so do not have the recipe. Despite the length of this recipe, it's very easy, and I think even beginner cooks should not have a problem preparing them.

4 baking potatoes, washed and dried

¼' cup butter

½' cup whipping cream (you may use half and half)

½' cup sour cream

½' cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

salt and white pepper, to taste

paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. Wash potatoes and pierce several times with a fork.
  2. Bake one to one and one-half hours. Squeeze potatoes to test for doneness. They should give when squeezed and feel soft. The skins should be crispy. Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.
  3. With a knife, cut off the top ¼' of the potatoes. (You can also slice the potatoes in half – servings will be smaller.) Using a spoon, remove the pulp and place in a large bowl. Place butter in cream and heat until butter melts. You can do this in the microwave – it takes a minute or more. Don’t boil.
  4. Add the milk/butter mixture a little at a time until you have the desired consistency. Fold in the sour cream. It should resemble mashed potatoes. Add the cheese. Finish with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Refill the potato shells with the potato mixture. Top each potato with a pat of butter, pushing the butter down into the potato. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
  6. Place in a baking pan or glass dish and return to the oven until the butter melts and bubbles and the potatoes are browned a bit. If you like more cheese, sprinkle additional grated cheese before serving. Remove from the oven then the cheese has melted. You may also top the potatoes with crumbled bacon bits.

This recipe is easy to double or triple, depending on how many you plan to serve. They may also be made ahead, covered with foil and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator and cook with the foil on for about half an hour at 350 degrees. Then remove the foil and allow the tops to brown and the butter to melt before serving.