My dad has been making these since I was a kid. It’s a tradition in our family to eat these at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can substitute the bacon with bacon bits if you prefer. Serves 6
8 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tbsp. softened and cut into small pieces
6 large russet potatoes, cleaned and dried
6 slices of bacon (or bacon bits)
1 and ½ cups grated Cheddar cheese (sharp or extra sharp)
½ cup milk
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 tbsp. scallions (white tops only) or onion. Finely chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the potatoes on the center rack for an hour until softened. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. While the potatoes are baking, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Pat dry with paper towels and break into bits. Set aside. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray and arrange your baked potatoes on it. Slice off the top quarter from each potato and scoop out the potato until you’re left with 6 empty potato skins. Place the potato pulp into a large bowl and mash. Add the butter, cheese, milk, salt and pepper and mix until smooth. Stir in the bacon and onion. Spoon the potato mixture back into the shells and sprinkle the extra butter bits on top.
Bake in the center of the oven until the tops of the potatoes are browned and slightly crispy.