We don’t eat enough sweet potatoes in this country. And when we do, they usually are slathered in sugar, butter, marshmallows, and maple syrup. (*gag*) What a horrific way to ruin a healthy, delicious food! (No offense to those of you who adore sweet potato casserole.)
I had a few sweet potatoes left over in my pantry and they were starting to go, so I knew I had to use them quick. So this morning I tossed together a muffin recipe that’s actually pretty darn good for you, emphasizing whole grains and minimizing saturated fats. Best of all, they taste incredible.
This recipe makes about 2 dozen muffins. That’s a lot. So if you don’t have 2 one-dozen muffin tins, you might want to halve this recipe. But the great thing about muffins is that there’s no such thing as leftover muffins. Extra muffins are coveted gifts, and will make your neighbors or coworkers VERY happy, and it doesn’t take any longer to make 2 dozen than it does to make 1.
The first thing you need to do is make some sweet potato puree. Technically, you could buy the cans of sweet potatoes or yams, but those are usually packed in sugar syrup…needless extra calories.
Into your microwave, place:
3 large sweet potatoes, washed and pricked all over with a fork
Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Then flip the potatoes over. (CAREFUL! They’ll be hot.) Microwave another 5 minutes. Unless you have a small microwave, they should be soft at this point. If not, keep microwaving them until they are soft. There are other ways to cook sweet potatoes, but they take longer. Oven roasting is my favorite, but it takes AGES and wastes electricity. I do not recommend boiling them, because it leaches out nutrients and flavor. Once the potatoes are soft, carefully remove them from the microwave using a kitchen towel, and slice them in half to speed up the cooling process. When they are cool enough to handle safely, scoop the pulp out of the skin with a spoon, and then mash the pulp with a fork. Measure out:
2 cups of the sweet potato puree
Save any extra puree to add to oatmeal or cereal, stir it into yogurt, or just eat it! It’s so good for you. To the puree, add:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (substitute 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream plus 3/4 cup milk, or 1 1/2 cups milk plus 1 Tablespoon vinegar)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup canola oil
Stir everything together very well and set it aside. In another large bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled, or “old fashioned” oats (quick cooking oats will work, but the texture won’t be as hearty)
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
(and, if I’ve converted you into a cardamom lover, you can also add up to 2 teaspoons of cardamom)
Then, in a separate small bowl, make the crumble topping by combining:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons melted butter
Squeeze all these ingredients together until they are moistened.
Now, combine the wet and dry muffin ingredients and stir gently until they are well mixed and mostly lump-free. Don’t work the batter too much or gluten will develop and the muffins will be tough. A folding motion is better than a stirring motion. Then spoon the batter into muffin pans lined with cupcake liners. (Because this recipe is relatively low in fat, the muffins tend to stick, so cupcake liners make things much easier. If you don’t have them, spray the muffin tin very well with cooking spray.) I use a squeeze-handle ice cream scoop to do this, and it helps me get a perfectly even amount in each tin without getting my fingers messy.
Then sprinkle the crumble topping onto each muffin and gently press down to adhere the topping to the batter.
Bake the muffins on the center rack of a preheated 400F oven for 25 minutes, or until the muffins test done. (Insert a knife or toothpick into the center of the oven, and if it comes out clean without any streaks of batter, they are done.)
Let them cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before carefully removing them to a cooling rack.