Holiday Sweet Potato Soufflé
‘Tis the season! So, this month’s featured recipe comes from the holiday table of Connie Wheeler. Connie manages Melissa’s Global Synchronization System, including our Data Bar portal (for proper UPC scan data); and, she also keeps the company’s Instacart information up to date. She is a busy person! Connie’s Sweet Potato Soufflé is now a holiday tradition in her family after going through a few revisions.
“This dish is a throw-together recipe that I made up for the holidays because I really like yams or sweet potatoes of any kind, but my family did not,” explained Connie. “Every holiday, I would make the usual brown sugar, marshmallow baked sweet potato casserole, but no one would ever eat it. I found myself happily finishing the whole dish. So, a few years ago, I decided to replace the marshmallows with Melissa’s Clean Snax as a topping and I changed the variety of sweet potatoes. The good news is that this new recipe had everyone wanting seconds. I guess the bad news is that I no longer have this dish all to myself!”
Connie’s main ingredient switch was to our purple-skinned Japanese Murasaki Sweet Potatoes. The Murasaki has a deep magenta skin and white interior that turns champagne gold as it cooks. This variety is both drier and creamier than orange sweet potatoes. The Murasaki also has an earthy, chestnut-like sweetness and dense, luscious texture compared to the orange variety that can be mushy, airy, or even stringy. Nutritionally, this variety has twice the amount of vitamin A and eight times more Vitamin C than orange garnet yams! BTW, the word “yam” is a marketing term exclusive to this country that is used to distinguish the orange tuber variety from the white interior root—which is marketed as a “sweet potato.” In truth, they are both sweet potatoes. Try using the word yam anywhere else in the world, particularly in yam’s native Africa, and you will be presented with a huge (11 to 20 pound!) brown or purple roundish root.
Replacing the traditional marshmallow topping with Melissa’s much healthier Almond Clean Snax is a very smart upgrade. These gluten-free nuggets are packed with healthy chia and flaxseeds and laced with honey and a pinch of salt—unlike marshmallows which are made from sugar, corn syrup and gelatin!
Connie Wheeler has been a member of Melissa’s team for nineteen years. She started out with the company in sales, mainly working with smaller retail accounts as well as the most difficult of all tasks— cold calling to bring in new customers. She recalls that back then when a customer decided to try a new product, Melissa’s had to send set up information manually to get the product into the customer’s system. That process took time and labor.
“Now most of the bigger chain stores are using what is called Global Synchronization to set up all new items in their system. Seven years ago, I was assigned the role of maintaining this system for the company. Global setup continues to be more important to our customers than ever before, playing an increasing role in how consumers shop. If you think about it, more and more consumers are shopping online, especially since the pandemic started. So, our customers use the global sync database for the many characteristics that need to be filled out for just one item. Some want images; some do not; some want nutrition factors; some do not. One of the attributes available is a marketing message, so I create what I think will catch the consumers’ eye when reading how to use an item. It’s professionally rewarding and makes me proud when I visit a customer’s website and see all the Melissa’s items that I had a hand in setting up.”
On weekends Connie’s online world of data management is replaced with a quiet lake, mountain trails and sometimes a fishing pole. Three years ago, she and her partner Rene purchased a second home in the nearby San Bernardino Mountains that is taken care of by a couple of her children during the week. Connie has four kids; two sons and two daughters– the youngest has one year left in college. The couple enjoys taking long walks on the thirty-five hiking trails in the area, riding bikes, picnicking, or just enjoying the beauty and peace of a mountain forest. Being a short drive from the popular ski resort towns of Big Bear and quieter Lake Arrowhead, they have discovered a few favorite rustic taverns and small quaint restaurants where they are greeted as locals. By the time Sunday rolls around, Connie says she is refreshed and ready for the workweek. In fact, she admits to having it all – a job that is interesting and fulfilling as well as a special place in the woods that provides balance, peace and perspective. And no more marshmallows!
Holiday Sweet Potato Soufflé
6 medium Japanese Murasaki Sweet Potatoes (or any favorite variety of sweet potato or yam), baked until soft, and refrigerated overnight.
½ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 cup Melissa's Clean Snax® (Almond or Cranberry), finely chopped
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter soften
Pinch of salt
1. Peel refrigerated yams, then place in a large mixing bowl and mash until very smooth. Fold in the butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cream and salt until thoroughly combined.
2. For the topping: In a small bowl combine the Clean Snax®, brown sugar, butter and a pinch of salt.
3. Transfer mixture to a greased quart casserole dish, using a spatula smooth into an even layer, then sprinkle with the topping. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes until soufflé is lightly browned.