Wonderful side dish! These are so much like what I enjoyed at holiday time when I was a kid in south Ga. My recommendations are: 1)Yams and sweet potatoes are NOT the same thing. Use sweet potatoes if you can find them. However ,if only yams are available, substitute and make this dish anyway, because although the taste is not the same, the result is still very very good. 2)Even though this recipe is designed to create a very sweet dish, it calls for more sugar than is necessary. I start with HALF of the sugar and ALL of the spices. As the sweet potatoes cook, I taste and add more sugar as needed, and I usually only add a tablespoon or two. 3) Make sure to turn the sweet potatoes about every fifteen minutes, to coat them well on both sides. As they cook, they become very tender, so be careful in turning them because they will easily fall apart. This does not affect the taste, but it does affect the presentation. This is also a good reason to cut the sweet potatoes at least 1/3" thick-- the thinner they are, the more likely they are to break. 4) Try to remember to add the vanilla at the end. I forget so often, and the dish is still very nice, but the vanilla adds alot. I've dealt with my forgetfulness by leaving one vanilla bean out on the counter, and I'll throw it in the pan sometime during the last 10-30 minutes of cooking.
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Wonderful side dish! These are so much like what I enjoyed at holiday time when I was a kid...