Monday, April 23, 2012

Sweet Potato Muffins... Now With a Gluten Free Option

When I think about making muffins, I recall my first every Home Economics Class assignment to make basic white muffins, when I was in grade 9.  I remember how we learned to make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, to pour the liquids into.  And I also remember the teacher admonishing us to gently fold the ingredients together, in big round movements that circled around the outer rim of the bowl.  And to not overmix so that it became gummy, or the resulting muffins would not rise evenly.

And I also recall being my muffins being graded on their color and shape.  The mark would be out of 5, and all my classmates compared notes and comments when we got our project results back from the teacher.  How I loved all those little kitchens that were in that huge classroom.  I even loved the laundry area and the ironing boards.

Now my niece is a high school Home Ec Teacher and I wonder what she would think of these muffins... So, dear C, if you read this post, please let me know how I did!

I love sweet potatoes, too.  I am always looking for new ways to eat them... this past week they were on sale at my favorite local produce market for 49 cents a pound so I stocked up.  

These are the dark orange-fleshed ones that I like to call yams, to distinguish them from the paler yellow-fleshed ones that my Mother cooked when I was a child. I never cared for those and still don't. The flesh is drier and just doesn't taste very good, to me.

But these orange sweet potatoes are like candy to me.  I will eagerly cook one in the microwave, and after it has cooled enough to handle, I will cut it in half and sit and eat the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.  Mmmmmm.

When I first saw this recipe a week or so ago on a blog I read regularly called Running Around My Kitchen, I thought I would like to try it.  Beth adapted her version from the original, which was published recently in Runner's World Magazine, and she used artificial sweetener in place of sugar.  Have a look at her post if that might appeal to you.

When I decided to make them, I wanted to use real sugar, but brown instead of white, and reduce the amount of fat they used.  So, I subbed 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce for melted butter. This is a common and accepted substitute in heavier batters such as muffins and cakes... bananas work too if you want that flavor, and prunes work well when you are using chocolate.

I also didn't have any buttermilk so I used a scant cup of skim milk, into which I had stirred 1 Tbs of lemon juice to sour and thicken it.  I normally make this substitution for buttermilk when I bake.

And one more thing... the original recipe didn't call for cinnamon, so I just sprinkled about 1 tsp of it into the dry ingredients.

They just came out of the oven and I think they look pretty good.  Here is how I made them.

Sweet Potato Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
  • 2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (scant) fat free milk with 1Tbs lemon juice mixed in
  1. Wash and dry the sweet potato, and prick the skin in several places. Microwave till cooked and then allow to cool, before peeling and mashing.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper or silicone liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk applesauce, oil, sweet potato, egg, and soured milk.
  5. Fold wet mixture into the dry; stir until just combined. Don't overmix.
  6. Fill the muffin cups and bake 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 212; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 36g; Fat 5g; Fibre 2g.

The cooked flesh will come out of the shell easily after cooled a bit.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Mix the prepared wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Then pour into the well you made in the dry ingredients.

Fold gently until just combined and then spoon into muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven.

Remove and let cool. These silicone cups come away from the cooked muffins very easily.  

Lovely color, nice rounded domes, not too smooth.

The Captain sliced some cheese to go along with these, for our lunch.

Light and fluffy inside after breaking in half.

And he asked for butter on his!

I would have to agree that this recipe was a rousing success.  They are delicious and the house smelled lovely while they were baking.  That is always a bonus.

Update to this post - May 14th, 2012

This, from my lovely niece, the  high school home economics teacher: 

" So I made the muffins gluten free -- I used 2 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour and because I didn't have enough I topped up the remaining 1/4 C with quinoa flour and also added 3/4 tsp of xanthan gum.  They turned out pretty well - a little dry so I may add a bit more apple sauce next time.  Although we were saying that the texture reminded us more of a scone or a bread so if we change what they are in our heads perhaps they were just perfect!! "

Thanks, C, for trying out the recipe and letting me know how you made it gluten-free for you and your Mother... for Mother's Day... great idea!  And I know many of my readers will be interested in this, too.  Really appreciate you sharing your experience with it.


  1. I love muffins, and I love sweet potatoes - these already look like a winner in my book! :)

  2. Those look great! I use vinegar to sour milk for pancakes (when I'm out of buttermilk). I'm baking sweet potatoes for dinner tonight - and I made soup with them last week. Total kick here, obviously.

  3. This is your neice C here! the mffins look symmetrical, slightly rounded and pebbly. They also look moist and to have a soft texture. Those are all the characteristics of a great muffin so I give you 5/5!


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