The flavours of fall are still prominent in my cooking and baking despite almost being halfway through November. The warmth that spices can bring to a meal is a culinary comfort to me. Scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are all associated with recipes that only seem to surface in the colder months of the year. I went through an extended period of time where I would make a pumpkin loaf almost every week. A close friend’s mother makes one of the best pumpkin loaves I’ve ever had. I was fortunate enough to have her recipe shared with me, and it’s become a fall classic.
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This season, I wanted to experiment with other autumn ingredients, namely sweet potatoes. Having such a sweet flavour they can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. While I get teased about my sweet potato, orange tinged cinnamon rolls, they are delicious. This week, I wanted to make some snacks for work so I wouldn’t be tempted by the coffee shop that’s a stones throw away from the office. I had a few sweet potatoes in the cupboard and wanted to use them as part of a sweeter baked good. Muffins are one of the most transportable snacks and can be made healthily if the portion size is right and some of the sugar is substituted properly. These muffins were the perfect solution.
Sugar & spice sweet potato muffins
1 ½ cups mashed sweet potatoes (2 medium or 1 very large)
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
¼ cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
A pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or a muffin pan with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan(s); set aside.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into 1-inch sized chunks. Place chunks in a large, shallow microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup water, cover with plastic wrap, and cook on high power for 15 to 17 minutes, or until potatoes are very fork-tender. Pour off any water. Mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Allow them to cool momentarily so you don’t scramble the eggs.
- Add the eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla to the mashed sweet potatoes and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and whisk to combine. Pour the wet sweet potato mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir to incorporate. Stir and fold with a gentle hand as to not over-mix and over-develop the gluten, which results in tougher bread.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan(s), smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes for a 9×5 pan and cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Muffins will take about 18-20 minutes.
- It will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week, but can be stored by wrapping the completely cooled loaf in plasticwrap, and then placing loaf inside a gallon-sized Ziplock.