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Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack (alternatively, you can place them on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet). Bake until very soft, 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. (Err on the side of overcooking rather than undercooking them.)
Remove the potatoes from the oven. While they are still hot, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using an oven mitt or a folded kitchen towel to hold the hot potatoes, scoop out all of the flesh from each potato half into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (*see notes on using a potato ricer, food mill or hand-held electric mixer). The flesh near the skin gets a little tough, so be sure to leave it behind. Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a fork, potato masher, or rubber spatula. Beat on low speed until completely smooth and no lumps remain, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and 6 tablespoons of the butter to a simmer.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using a large rubber spatula, gradually fold in the hot cream and butter mixture. It will take a few minutes to mix it all in; keep folding until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the salt, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap (the bowl should be large enough that the potatoes don’t touch the plastic wrap). Refrigerate for up to 2 days. (DO NOT FREEZE)
To reheat, use the tip of a knife to poke about 10 holes in the plastic wrap, and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power until the potatoes are hot, about 14 minutes, stirring halfway through the reheating time. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a serving dish, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle with the chives. Serve hot.
Note: For perfectly smooth potatoes, pass the potato flesh through a potato ricer or food mill before adding them to the mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand-held electric mixer but the potatoes won’t be quite as smooth. If you don't have an electric mixer, pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer and then whip by hand with a wooden spoon.