Twice Baked Potatoes with Chive & Goat Cheese
Pretty Twice Baked Potatoes
Note: These are quite easy but do require patience and caution at times. The most challenging part was scooping out the potato flesh because you want to be careful not to scoop too close to the skin and puncture it. It's very easy to double this recipe, if necessary.
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 6-ounce russet potatoes, scrubbed
5 1/2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled, room temperature
3/4 cup half and half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup fresh bacon bits
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Rub oil over potatoes. Pierce in several spots with fork. Place directly on oven rack and bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes.
Using a hand towel, cut off top 1/4 of each potato with a serrated knife. Using spoon, carefully scoop out potato, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell. Transfer potato to large bowl. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Mash potatoes with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Mix in cheese, then half and half, butter, and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon about 3/4 of potato mixture into shells, dividing evenly. Transfer remaining potato filling to pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe filling atop potatoes. Place potatoes on baking sheet. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake potatoes until filling is heated through and tops brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh pepper, chives and bacon bits.
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