Although the holidays have come and gone, it appears that I can’t let go of one of my favorite seasonal vegetables—sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of beta carotene. They actually contain more beta-carotene than any other fruit or vegetable… including carrots! Sweet potatoes have about five times more calories than pumpkin, mostly due to the high amount of sugar. While sugar might not be great for your health, I love the flavor that it brings to baking. That is why I really enjoy substituting sweet potatoes for pumpkin in recipes.
In true fashion, I swapped in sweet potato for this muffin recipe that originally called for pumpkin. The result is a muffin that is subtly sweet with aromatic hints of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I would happily serve these muffins to guests for breakfast or even wrap them up as a present, which is exactly what I did for Matt’s mom. Although they might not be test kitchen approved, Matt and I were so addicted to these muffins that we divided them equally between ourselves and neither one of us was willing to share!
Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins
Makes about 18 muffins
Ingredients for Topping
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredients for Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
15 ounces baked and pureed sweet potatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two standard muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
For the topping, combine flour, butter, sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
For the muffins, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix well (I like to use a whisk). Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at low speed until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add sweet potato and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Turn speed down to low and mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about ¾ full. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool on rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely (use a butter knife to lift them out of pan).
Heather’s Helpful Hints
When making muffins, always fill any empty muffin tins halfway with water. This ensures that your muffins will bake evenly.