Yams are one of the most delicious and most nutritious vegetables you can grow. They are very rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B6, thiamin, potassium and fiber. Most yams used in the United States are not technically yams, but rather a variety of sweet potato. They are, nevertheless, extremely delicious when prepared properly and make an excellent accompaniment to any holiday meal—or just any time you want to enjoy the hearty taste of candied yams.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the yams, wrap them in aluminum foil and pierce each twice with a fork. Place them on the baking pan and put in the oven.
Check the yams after 40 minutes by piercing them with a fork. When the fork slides out clean, the yams are done. Take them out of the oven so they can cool. Turn the oven down to 375. Be sure not to overcook the yams, as doing so will make cutting them very difficult.
Soften the butter slightly, either in the microwave or on the stove. Mix half of the butter with the spices, vanilla extract, brown sugar and marshmallows. Grind the nuts in a food processor and add them to the mixture, putting aside half a cup for later.
Peel the yams, using a paring knife or your hands. Cut them horizontally down the middle, and then vertically into 1-inch pieces. Arrange half of the slices in a buttered deep baking dish and drizzle with half the remaining butter and maple syrup.
Cover the slices with half of the butter and nut mixture. Add the remaining yams, drizzle with butter and maple syrup again (leaving about two tablespoons of butter), and add the remaining butter and nut mixture.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining nuts and butter and put the dish in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes—until the yams are soft and the topping is golden brown. This should serve about 10 people.