Candied yams are a popular dish around Thanksgiving and Christmas because yams are a fall vegetable. They are readily available starting in October through late March and less expensive during those months. In North America, a candied yam is actually a sweet potato, as true yams are not marketed in the United States or Canada.
Real yams can be the size of a potato or they can be as long as seven feet and weigh over a hundred pounds. Yams are grown in parts of Central America, South America, Asia and Africa. However, if you want to make candied yams, you need to pick out unblemished, medium sized sweet potatoes in order to make them.
How Yams are Cooked
Candied yams can be made on top of the stove or in the oven, which is most common because many people put marshmallows over the top of the yams and let them melt in the oven. You will need to choose between six and eight yams, peel them and cut them into large chunks or slices whether they are going to be cooked in the oven or on the stove.
Stovetop Candied Yams
When you make candied yams on the stove, add the chunks of yam to a pot of water with one cup of brown sugar, one-half cup of sugar, 16 ounces of dark syrup, one-fourth cup of butter and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Allow everything to cook for about 45 minutes or until it is thick. The candied yams will also thicken when they cool.
Baked Candied Yams
Rather than put them in a pan on the stove, you can put the chunks or yam slices in a baking dish along with one-half cup of butter, one cup of brown sugar, one-half cup of water and one teaspoon of salt. You can add raw potatoes into the dish, but they will take longer to cook, or you can steam them about 30 minutes beforehand until they are tender and then slice them to put in the baking dish.
The other ingredients are used to make a sauce by melting the butter with the sugar, water and salt. Once the sugar is dissolved, whisk the sauce and pour it over the potatoes. Baked them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about an hour. You can add marshmallows over the top of the yams about 15 minutes before they are done and finish baking them.