Preheat oven to 400° F and scrub or rinse off the potatoes removing as much dirt as possible.
Cut into sides of potatoes to vent. I cut my vents as guides for when I will be cutting the potatoes in half lengthwise after they have baked.
Place vented potatoes on a baking sheet. I use a sil-mat or parchment paper, but you can put them straight onto the baking sheet if you'd like. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour at 400° F
While the potatoes are baking combine the remaining ingredients (except for the 1 - 2 TBSPs Earth Balance to be melted) in a large mixing bowl. Stir the apple cider vinegar and yogurt together. If the other ingredients get mixed in too, that's fine. The goal here is to use one bowl. Let the mixture sit out for 15 minutes to an hour.
Next, melt 1 - 2 TBSPs of Earth Balance and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 TBSP of Earth Balance (or more if you are going there) and the ground black pepper to the mixing bowl of yogurt and apple cider vinegar.
Remove one potato from the oven. Wearing an oven mitt (or using a towel to protect your hand), cut the potato in half using the cut guide vents and confirm that the potato is thoroughly baked (they should be soft). If the test potato is not done in the center, just put the halves together and put it in the oven. Then bake the potatoes longer if needed. I've been using small Russets, and they thoroughly cook in an hour.
Remove all the potatoes from the oven. Let them cool enough to handle (or wear an oven mitt/towel when handling) and cut them in half, lengthwise. You want the potatoes to be warm to hot when you are scooping and mashing. Using a spoon, scoop and scrape the potato insides into the large mixing bowl containing the yogurt mixture, leaving a small layer of potato "meat" inside the skin to make it structurally sound. Set aside potato skins.
Mix or mash the potatoes to desired texture. I go a little more rustic only using the hand mixer for a little bit. When mashed potatoes are overworked they become gluey. Be careful not to overwork them, if you want creamier potatoes just add 2 - 4 TBSPs unsweetened original almond milk. If you are piping in the potatoes, make sure the potatoes are not lumpy because lumps don't pipe very well.
Spoon the potato yogurt mixture back into the best-looking, most structurally sound potato skins. If you want to get fancy, you can pipe the potato mixture into the best-looking skins.
Place filled potato skins back onto the pan and brush, spoon, or drizzle the melted Earth Balance onto the potato tops. Eat or discard the leftover skins.
Kick oven up to 425° and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and garnish with optional scallions, chives and/or Coconut Bacon Flakes if using. Serve and enjoy.
Make ahead instructions: Bake the potatoes, mash and mix in the yogurt mixture and spoon or pipe them into the skins and cover and store in the fridge. Then when you are ready to prepare, brush with melted Earth Balance and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, kicking the oven up to 425 degrees F for the last 15 minutes or until they get a little golden brown.Nutrition Information is approximate.Vegan yogurt: This post is NOT sponsored. For this recipe, I highly recommended this Kite Hill Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk Yogurt. It's a cultured, minimal ingredient vegan yogurt that's great with this recipe.I've also made this recipe with the Greek-Style version of this yogurt, but they were dry. If you've got the Greek-Style kind, I'd add 1/3 cup or more unsweetened original almond milk to the potatoes when mashing.Whatever yogurt you get, make sure it's unsweetened. A lot of vegan yogurts have sugar listed in the ingredients. You do not want sugar in your twice-baked potatoes.Baking Notes:If you decide to skip the spoon, or drizzle the melted Earth Balance onto the potato tops step, be sure to watch the potatoes as they are more likely to burn. The extra fat from the Earth Balance helps create the golden brown, Maillard reaction. If you want really browned tops you can also place them under the broiler and watch them closely to avoid burning. Make sure to do this on a baking sheet without a sil-mat or parchment paper. Sil-mats are not supposed to be used under heat that high and parchment will occasionally catch on fire.www.planttestkitchen.com