Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

It’s another super special Hop Day with Izzy!  And no, it’s not because it’s finally warm enough for her to start stretching out in her litter box.  Though it is cute.

It’s because today is my BFF Diego’s birthday.  He’s also graduating from college this week, so many, many congratulations to him!  Check out this vintage photo of us hanging out in Puerto Rico.  Yeah, I know we’re pretty awesome, especially me in my colorful little girl bikini.

That year was also the last one that I let my mom decide now I got my hair cut.

I wish I had a more festive baked good to ring in my friend’s birthday, but I thought making a cake for him that he couldn’t actually eat might be torturous.  So I went with a slightly less enviable choice, the muffin.

Hey, you know you like muffins.  And these babies are packed with flavor from mashed sweet potato, brown sugar and a menagerie of spices.

Top them off with some turbinado sugar, and you’ve got yourself one lovely breakfast.  Slap on some cool whip and a candle, and you’ve got yourself a tiny birthday cake.

Or just stick with the breakfast idea.

Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes 12 muffins

One large sweet potato (about 8 oz)

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange zest

2 large egg whites

½ cup milk

1/3 cup canola oil

turbinado sugar for toping

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the sweet potato until very tender, about 15 minutes.  You can also roast the sweet potato by wrapping it in foil and baking it at 400 degrees for about an hour.  It takes longer, but it caramelizes the sugars and brings out more flavor.  Your choice.

After the potato is cooked, peel it (the skin should slide off) and transfer it to a medium bowl.  Mash it with a fork or potato masher, then switch to a wooden spoon and beat in the sugar.  Set the bowl aside to cool slightly.

In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside.

Stir vanilla extract and orange zest into the sweet potato mixture.  Add egg whites and beat until pale, thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in milk and oil.  Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, but do not over mix.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them to just below the brim.  Sprinkle some turbinado sugar (or brown sugar) on top of each.  Bake until golden brown, 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove and serve.

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