Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Fries _lowres

Photo by Graham Blackall -- Loyola University New Orleans student Graham Blackall re-imagines the classic king cake as Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries.

Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 2 to 4. Recipe is by Graham Blackall, of New Orleans, who says, “To celebrate the arrival of Mardi Gras, I decided to take an alternate approach to the beloved king cake. With so many bakeries fighting to the death to make the best king cake, I re-imagined the classic cake as a dessert poutine with cinnamon sugar-dusted sweet potato fries. Don’t be fooled, the brown butter cream cheese glaze and pecan praline sauce disqualify an attempt at calling these fries a vegetable!”

3 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled


2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 batch of Brown Butter Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe)

1 batch of Praline Sauce (see recipe)

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Purple, green, and gold sanding sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. With an extra-sharp knife, slice the washed and peeled sweet potatoes into halves, then quarters, then individual slices. Desired thickness should be somewhere around 1/4-inch thick.

3. Once sliced, toss the potatoes in a dusting of cornstarch to ensure extra crispiness. Remove all excess powder and toss them in the melted coconut oil, making sure to coat each fry thoroughly.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar, setting aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture for later. Add the cinnamon-sugar to the fries and toss to coat. Divide the coated fries evenly among the two baking sheets.

5. Bake the sweet potato fries for 18 minutes on one side, flip them, and then bake for another 15 minutes. Once done, you can either remove them or let them cool slightly in the oven for 20-30 minutes for extra crispiness. Coat the warm fries in the remaining 3 tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar mixture.

6. Pile the warm fries onto a serving plate and drizzle with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Glaze and Praline Sauce. Top with toasted pecans and purple, green, and gold sanding sugars. Serve immediately, turn on Mambo No. 5, and share with your most loved ones — these are extra special.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Glaze

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

3 to 5 tablespoons milk

1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, continue to cook the butter until brown flecks form at the bottom of the pan and begins to smell nutty.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, pour the brown butter over the cream cheese and whisk together until smooth. Once fully combined, sift in the confectioners’ sugar. Mix in the vanilla and milk until desired consistency is reached.

Praline Sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

41/2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream

1?8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and sea salt. After the butter melts and the mixture becomes homogenous, let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes. It will bubble and thicken pretty significantly during this step. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.