I love to be able to prep things ahead of time. These potatoes let you do that so you're not having to fuss with them when it's time for service. I've also found that regular baked potatoes, always end up to large to be plated nice with the rest of the food on a plate, so I usually serving 1/2 a large baked potato for each person.
Full fledged, large baked potatoes take about 1 1/4 hours to cook at 425 or 450 degrees, and this can be a problem when you're trying to cook other dishes at the same time. This is an easy way to serve a baked potato, when your busy with the rest of the meal, or you're using the oven for other things, like a roast. While the meat is resting, you can be baking these.
You'll get the flavor and texture of a baked potato, and can even add all of the toppings you would use on the real thing. Plus everyone will think that you spent a lot of time getting them ready.
1. Set the potatoes in a pot, and cover with salted water. Bring this to a boil, then simmer, until you can stick a knife or a fork in the largest potatoe, and it both goes in, and comes out easily. Turn off the heat and drain the water.
2. Melt the butter in a microwave, and set aside.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the potatoes on it. Slit the skin on top of each potato, and pull it away a little bit. Gently press down with a potato masher, leaving the smashed potatoes about 1/2" thick.
4. Drizzle with about 1/2 of the melted butter then dust with salt, pepper, and Butt Kickin' Blacken.
You can prepare the potatoes this way, 2 hours or so before you'll be serving them.
5. When it's time to cook, Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees, then place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, based on how thick the potatoes are done. I you'd like the potato skins a little crispy, you can set the oven to 425 degrees.
6. Carefully remove from the pan with a spatula, and set on a plate or platter, and drizzle with a little more butter.
7. If you want to use the cheese, you could place a small pile of it on the potatoes prior to baking them.
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