I love garlic so when I was looking for a recipe for twice-baked potatoes and came across Kraft's recipe for Roasted Garlic Twice-Baked Potatoes I knew I found the one I wanted to try. I did make some adaptations of course. Kraft's presentation was a bit unusual in that it directs you to cut the potatoes crosswise but I decided to stick with the classic serving manner. I also decided to use cheddar instead of Velveeta and didn't have Parmesan but if I did I would have added it! My sister-in-law Dee asked me to make twice baked potatoes for my nephew Jay's birthday party so I tripled the recipe to use about twelve potatoes. I had no idea that she was making lasagna otherwise I definitely would have made less! Then again, I kept three at home to use as a meal accompaniment for Sky-girl and me later in the week so it all worked out.
The first thing you want to do is cook the potatoes so preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I baked the potatoes and garlic one night and did the rest of the steps the following day. If you do the entire process at one time, just remember after the potatoes and garlic are baked you'll want to reduce the heat to 350 degrees for the second round of baking the potatoes. Speaking of potatoes, you want to use baking potatoes specifically whenever you're making twice-baked potatoes. The skin on twice-baked potatoes is thicker which helps to prevent the shell from falling apart while you're working with it. There are several ways to cook baking potatoes for twice-baked potatoes. No matter which method you choose, you want to scrub the potato skins clean, then poke all over the potato with a fork or knife. The easiest way is zapping them in the microwave. Heck newer microwaves even come with a baked potato setting! Since I was making these for a party, I decided to bake them in the oven. After patting the potatoes to remove the excess moisture from washing them, I coated them lightly with the Goya olive oil which is my EVOO of choice. I then sprinkled them with Kosher salt and set them aside. The garlic will roast at the same time as the potatoes so next I prepped them. I used three bulbs total so I lop off the tops (how often do you get to use the word "lop"?!?).
I ended up having to use parchment paper because I was COMPLETELY out of aluminum foil!! I hate when I run out of those kitchen items you should always have. I ran out of vanilla extract not too long ago but that's a different story. Anyhow, so I drizzled the garlic bulbs with a bit of olive oil and loosely folded the paper to enclose the bulbs. I did not wrap the potatoes for baking but that was a decision made before I realized I was out of foil. I wanted the skin a bit crispy. I put the bulbs and the potatoes into the oven. While the potatoes and garlic baked, I microwaved the bacon. I did about 1 to 2 slices per potato. Once the bacon was cooked I roughly chopped the bacon. It was crispy enough that it crumbled which is why a rough chop was all I needed. I removed the garlic bulbs after an hour to let them cool but since the potatoes were rather large, I left them in the oven for about another half hour. When I removed them from the oven, my stab marks were pretty evident!
Once the garlic bulbs have cooled enough to handle, all you have to do is squeeze starting from the root to the tops squeezing like a tube of toothpaste. The roasted garlic will come out easily and by the way, SMELLS HEAVENLY! Set the roasted garlic aside to add to the potato pulp. On to the potatoes! Cut each potato lengthwise. I've found the easiest way to remove the potato pulp is to use a big spoon. You'll want to leave about an inch of potato so the remaining shell doesn't end up too flimsy.
Make sure the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. The potato pulp should be in a big enough bowl. I added about three cups of both sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, the bacon, roasted garlic then sprinkled salt and pepper to taste. The pulp isn't too hot which prevents it from melting the cheddar which is good. After being satisfied with the taste of the mixture, it is easiest to fill the shells using a piping bag. It aids in achieving a clean presentation and it's faster. Since my kitchen was covered in shells awaiting the heavenly filling, I wanted an easier method. I don't own a piping bag so instead I filled a freezer storage bag with the mixture, cut the tip of one corner off, and filled the shells.
I sprinkled the tops with a little bit more shredded cheddar cheese then baked the potatoes for about half an hour. These came out so good that Sky-girl talked about them for about a week after they were long gone!
3 heads Garlic
3 tsp olive oil
12 large baking potatoes
3 cups sour cream
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
12 to 18 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
salt & pepper to taste