Do you know the Muffin Man? No, I don’t either. Personally I am somewhat ambivalent about muffins. I think that many times, they try to be too much – cake, breakfast pastry, quick bread – but end up not being particularly good at any of it. The monstrous muffins that are routinely served at coffee shops are too often dry or crumbly or dense without much flavor. When I eat a muffin, I like it to be moist and tender with a light sweetness that doesn’t overpower my tea.
When I came across this recipe for sweet potato muffins, I knew that I needed to try them. In addition to being really simple to make, the sweet potato adds moistness and flavor while the mix of white and wheat flours and flax seed meal adds a nice nuttiness. Plus, since we are heading out on a (long) road trip for Thanksgiving, I wanted to have some easy and delicious road food to keep us all full and happy. These muffins fit the bill nicely.
The texture of these is great. They are light and springy, not dense and dry. They are sweet enough that Thing 1 loves them, especially the mini ones which she refers to as “baby muffins”, but not too sweet for me or Marc. So if you are boiling up some sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, boil one extra and make these muffins for the morning after.
Sweet Potato Muffins
Adapted from this recipe
1 large sweet potato (about 1 1/3 cups mashed)
1 stick of butter (salted or unsalted), softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 tbls wheat bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is preferable)
1 tsp salt (use only if you are using unsalted butter, otherwise omit)
cooking spray or muffin papers
4 tsp sugar mixed with 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping (optional)
Peel and cube the sweet potato. Place in boiling water to cover and simmer until tender when poked with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. You should have about 1 and 1/3 cups of mashed potato. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, flax seed meal, wheat bran, baking soda, spices, and salt (if using).
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until light in color. Add the sugars and cream until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Next add the milk, vanilla, and sweet potato and mix until well combined. The batter will look slightly curdled. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Fill prepared muffin tins about three-quarters full. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar if desired. Bake in the 350 degree oven until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean, about 14 minutes for mini muffins and 18 minutes for regular ones. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
These muffins are great as breakfast or as a snack. They are particularly nice for kids because they taste yummy but at least hint at healthiness. The original recipe says it makes 12 muffins but they must be the huge ones you get in coffee shops because I made 12 regular muffins and 12 mini muffins from the same amount of batter.