Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce 4 medium sweet potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) several times with a fork; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. With a paring knife, cut an X in the top of each potato, and spread open. Add desired topping, and serve immediately.
BASIC Dot with softened butter, and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. SOUTHWESTERN Layer with black beans, salsa, shredded Monterey Jack, and chopped cilantro. FRENCH Crumble blue cheese over top, then sprinkle with chopped toasted pecans. ALL-AMERICAN Dollop with sour cream; sprinkle with crumbled bacon and chopped chives.