You can also twice-bake little fingerling potatoes, and they’ll look just like miniature baked potatoes. The round shape of Yukon Golds, however, makes those potatoes much easier to hollow out.
Heat the oven to 425°F. Put the potatoes on a large baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the thyme, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and toss again. Bake the potatoes until they feel perfectly tender when pierced with a skewer, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. If not working ahead, increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
Carefully hollow out each potato: Begin by slicing off the top; use a small spoon or a melon baller to scoop out most of the flesh inside, transferring it to a large bowl. Discard the tops. Mash the potato flesh with a masher or a fork, then combine it with the bacon, 1/4 cup of the chives, the crème fraîche, the remaining 1 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
Using a small spoon and your fingers, fill the hollowed potatoes with this mixture; it should mound a bit. Sprinkle on the cheese.
Return the potatoes to the 450°F oven and bake until the filling heats through, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve warm.
Make Ahead Tips
You can stuff the potatoes up to two days ahead as long as you wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them; bring them to room temperature before the second baking.
Photo: Scott Phillips