sweet potato

Experimental Sweet Potato Muffins.

I think most sweet recipes have personalities. Ice creams are light and playful, brownies suspicious and full of desire, and muffins are sturdy, the utilitarian farm-girls of recipe lexicon. With less sugar than their cupcakey counterparts, they are also something that most people feel they can indulge in on a near daily basis. I send a muffin to school with my Kiddo each day, and it is true that if I can bake it into a muffin shape, he will probably eat it.

sweet potato muffin batter

I wasn't really intending to share this recipe. It's been around the block a few times - developed by Kim Boyce in her stellar whole grain baking book and posted by The Wednesday Chef where I plucked it up to help it continue on it's way. I've been testing a new batch of recipes for Andrea Lynn for her forthcoming book on artisan sodas. Using up an experimental sweet potato, I was pleasantly surprised at both how delicious and soft these muffins were, and at my son's enchantment with them. He wanted to eat three after he got home from school yesterday, when they still sat on the cooling racks before their transfer to the freezer. I let him have two, only because it made my heart so happy. He told me they were "as good as Alterra on the East Side's", which is pretty high praise. If I'm going to eat a non-homemade muffin, I go for Alterra's too.

sweet potato muffins

I'd suspect you could use any orange vegetable that's been pureed in these muffins, so long as they equal about a cup total. Since I was using up about 6 oz. of grated sweet potato, I simply boiled it in a little water for about 20 minutes until it was soft enough. I used my immersion blender to blend it smooth, it was a little on the thinner side of vegetable purees but I suspect it added to the softness of the muffins. I also had to omit the dates, since my picky Kiddo will not eat them. I recently put them in granola, and he patiently picked out each one. Really. Every little tiny chunk of date. Dates would make these extra excellent however.

Experimental Sweet Potato Muffins (adapted from Kim Boyce via The Wednesday Chef)
  • 1 c. pureed sweet potato or other orange vegetable
  • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 T. dark brown sugar
  • 3 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. ap flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. pastry flour (the recipe called for whole wheat pastry, but I only had regular on hand)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • 1 c. thin yogurt or buttermilk (I didn't need quite as much liquid as the original recipe because I used thinner pureed sweet potato)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift the flours, baking powder and soda, and spices over a medium sized bowl to combine.

In another medium sized bowl, cream the butter and sugars until the sugar starts to dissolve, about 3 minutes. In a 2 cup glass measure or small bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, vanilla and pureed vegetable, and mix to blend.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately to the bowl with the butter, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (3 installments of dry and 2 installments of wet ingredients).

Portion into greased or paper lined muffin tins, and bake for 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack.

sweet, sweet potato

I feel so fortunate lately to be completely immersed in food. Local projects and testing on top of Christmas baking seems to make me feel like a full-fledged pastry chef, and I love every second of it. I'm trying to find the time now for more in depth projects like this panettone with a specially attended wild yeast that needs to be nursed along at 85 degrees. I'm dreaming about it actually. I wish I had just one more week before Christmas...

Surprises arrive in my days like these muffins, which really appeared out of my desire for not wasting, and took advantage of an oven that was already on. So my apologies for yet another muffin posting, which the food blog world is certainly full up on. But their sturdy, good-natured selves are welcome in my world, their balanced nutrition and hints of sweetness complements to my freezer for quick bites and snacks.

sweet potato muffins

Low Country Sweet Potato Salad

I sometimes enjoy reading and trying reader recipes, and most definitely knew I would like Low Country Sweet Potato Salad submitted to a Cook's Illustrated magazine, Cook's Country, by Veronica Callaghan. I love sweet potatoes, and any time I find recipes for them - especially when they are roasted - I try them. And this recipe has bacon. What more can I say?

The first time I tried this, I used it as a side dish. It made so much that I added the leftovers to tacos, with nice results. This time I made it knowing how much it made, anticipating the tacos that would be made from the leftovers. I had these particular leftovers last night with my friend Elisa, visiting from Boston, in pinto bean tortillas, with scrambled eggs, tomatillo salsa and mango salsa. Queso Fresco would have been a natural fit, but none in the icebox, so thin slices of mozzarella were acceptable. My dimly lit room doesn't do much for showing how good this actually was... We each ate 2 and were full and satisfied.

leftovers, remade.

These tortillas are good freezer staples. I know now that I am good at cooking many things, but nothing in this world will allow me to make tortillas like my Mother. So instead of disappointment to myself, I adopted the art of the corn tortilla. After two years of only corn tortillas, freshly made to order, I got this recipe that R1's Mom gave her for flour based tortillas with beans which are not only healthful, but easy to make, and hard to over work. I also like that I can use any type of bean, and frequently use leftover refried beans or whatever type I happen to have going. I'm going to post the recipe here since I misplaced it recently, and didn't trust my memory so I had to call around the people I knew that had it until I got it again from R1.

(A Note: 15 oz. cans of beans contain only about 9 oz. of actual beans. I know because I bought a can and drained them and weighed them. Since I make my own beans from dried, I usually use about 10-12 oz. for this recipe, with fine results. The important thing is that the "feel" is right to you. Either alter the amount of water or flour depending on your likes, and cook Confidently! I also like to add other spices when adding the flour: coriander, cumin, chile powder, Mexican oregano... whatever you think you would like.)


(Makes at least 20, depending on your size. Leftovers freeze well for a month or so.)

1 15 oz. can drained black beans (or pintos, kidney, white, etc. see note above)

3 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup water (more or less)

scant 1/3 cup oil (I usually use about a half of a 1/3 c. measure with fine results.)

salt, 2 or more pinches

In food pro, processes beans until semi-smooth. If you use leftover mashed beans, just whizz them around to break them apart a bit.

Add oil, whizz some more, then add flour and salt. With machine running, add water through the top until the dough looks like dough, taking the top off to check the stickiness if needed. I usually use the whole 2/3 c. of water, and sometimes more depending on the humidity. Try not to over process.

When dough is cohesive enough to handle, turn out onto a board using a bit of flour if needed and lightly knead into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Then pinch off ping pong ball sizes of dough, roll out on a floured board, and cook on a medium hot cast iron pan.

You may lose a few the first time you try, but persevere. I find that I like to add a little extra flour when I form the balls and roll them out, so I don't like to leave the dough too dry before it rests.

As for the potatoes...


(serves 6-8)

2 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 c. olive oil (you can use a bit less if you like, like I do)

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 large shallot, minced (or 1 white onion, chopped to your liking)

1 t. cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

1 T. lemon juice (I just use half a lemon)

1 t. hot sauce of your choosing

2 T. toasted sesame seeds

2 T. or more chopped parsley (or cilantro if you like it better)

Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions, and heat to 375. I like to line 2 sheet pans with foil for easy cleanup, or you can spray or oil 2 sheet pans.

Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, bacon, shallot or onion, cayenne, pinch(es) salt and pepper. Divide between the two pans and roast 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Switch position of the pans at the half way point. Cool potatoes for 20 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice, hot sauce, and remaining olive oil in small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a large serving bowl, and add dressing. Mix in chopped parsley or cilantro, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve cold or room temp.

When I scrambled the eggs for the tacos last night, I first heated up the pan and refried the potatoes first. Then I added my eggs right to the skillet and scrambled them in with the potatoes. I would venture to say that there is not a bad way to reheat these potatoes, and though I haven't tried it, I think they may caramelize a bit more if you roasted them initially at 400 or even 425 or 450 if you are brave. Next time, my friends. And I'll be sure to let you know.