Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sweet Potato Molasses Muffins

Mid-November does not equal fall here in the Antipodes, but with all of the recipes and photos online of pumpkin, spice-filled delights, this American is craving a little Thanksgiving flavor.  I wish I'd made these last week when my wonderful parents-in-law were in town, but between birthday celebrations, watching the hubs perform at the Opera House (yep, he's pretty amazing), and visiting Sydney's best beaches and restaurants, we didn't have a chance.

The mum-in-law and I did combine our collective baking skills to recreate a family favorite cake of hers: chocolate yum cake.  We baked a gluten-free chocolate spice cake in a bundt pan, covered it with a mixture of honey, cream, and poppyseeds, and slathered a melted chocolate layer over the top. If she gives permission I may post a version here, it's different and delicious.

Back to fall flavors... I had half of a sweet potato and a ripe banana I needed to use up, so I scanned the web for muffin recipes and ended up adapting Kathy's vegan cinnamon pumpkin muffins over at HealthyHappyLife. The results were perfect: beta carotene blast from the sweet potato, aromatic spices, and the deep undertones of molasses.  Plus, these muffins have a great texture and bake up nice and tall.
SouthernSpoon blog: sweet potato molasses muffins
sweet potato molasses muffins hot out of the oven

They can easily be made gluten-free by using all g-f flour, and vegan by using almond or soy milk in place of the dairy milk. Happy fall to folks in the northern hemisphere!
SouthernSpoon blog: sweet potato molasses muffins

Sweet Potato Molasses Muffins
adapted from HappyHealthyLife
makes 12 muffins

2 cups flour (I used approx. 1 c spelt flour, 1 c gluten-free blend, and few teaspoons almond meal)
pinch of ground sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves
1 tablespoon natural or brown sugar
1 1/4 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup skim milk (or almond milk, soy milk, etc)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons agave or brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 'flax egg' (1/4 cup warm water + 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, let sit, stir till thick)
1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (or applesauce)
2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other vegetable oil)

Preheat oven to 175C / 350F, and line a muffin tin with muffin cups or squares of parchment paper. Spray the inside of each paper liner lightly with oil.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (flour through sugar).  In a medium sized bowl, mix the wet ingredients thoroughly (milk through oil).

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients.  If you're baking with gluten-free flours, there's no need to worry about overmixing (as you won't activate the gluten which can make the mixture tough), but if you're baking with gluten-containing flours, be sure to just mix until ingredients are incorporated, even if a few lumps of flour remain.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling almost to the top.  Bake at 175C / 350F for 18-23 minutes, until done.  There should be a crisp, thick outer shell, and no crumbs should remain on a toothpick when inserted.  Allow to cool before serving.

These will keep for a couple of days, covered, at room temperature, or can be frozen and reheated in the microwave at 80% power for 15 second intervals.