Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"time may change me"

the food: Sweet Potato Muffins
the song: "Changes" David Bowie

I almost didn't take the time to write this recipe out. I made these muffins for us the Sunday following SXSW because I had a single, lonely sweet potato that was starting to get a little wrinkly looking. They were muffins of necessity, really. And aren't those the best kind? As you're eating warm muffins with a dollop of butter and sipping your coffee, you can think to yourself "I just had to do it. For the sweet potatoes."

A quick internet search lead to this recipe, which is what I based mine on. I attempted to halve the original recipe to make a dozen muffins. But as you can see, that didn't work out so well.

Oops. So in the recipe below, I'm not fooling with the amounts. I can't say for certain how many this will make. But (as you'll see below) these muffins don't rise much, so you can fill the cups a little higher and maybe make an even dozen out of it.

So why wasn't I going to write about these? Maybe our taste buds were just numbed from all the cheese and salsa we'd had during SXSW but when we first tasted them, our initial reaction was "Huh. These are...pretty good." But we were both back in the kitchen searching for a snack about an hour later. I packed up the remaining muffins; we both took them to work on Monday and completely forgot about them for two days. That doesn't speak too highly of them, right? The muffins were about to be filed into the "do not repeat" place in my kitchen.

But then something surprising happened. Wednesday morning at work, I grabbed a muffin while the kids were having their morning snack. When I took a bite, I was shocked at how good it tasted. It was moist and flavorful and delicious. That night when the husband got home, I asked about his muffins to see if he'd experienced the phenomena as well. "Yeah, they were awesome," he said. "Were they that good on Sunday?" I'm not sure if we changed, or the muffin changed, but we both were much more impressed with them a couple of days later.

Next time, I want to make a few changes. I think these muffins are asking to be veganized; all you'd have to do is use soy milk and replace the egg with some applesauce or a banana. In that case, the muffins would benefit from the added sweetness and you could even reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. As you can see, they turned out a little flat. I might have under-filled the cups trying to stretch the batter out to make a dozen. Or I might need new baking powder. I will definitely not fiddle with the amounts again. If I end up with 16 muffins, well then that's just perfect. And finally, assuming I'm organized, I might make these the night before I plan on serving them to see if time actually made these better.

Sweet Potato Muffins
adapted from Kate in the Kitchen

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flour (I used all purpose but whole wheat would work very well)
1 teaspoon. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped and toasted nuts (I used almonds, but pecans would be better)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, spice, and nuts. In another small bowl, whisk together sweet potato, brown sugar, oil, egg, milk and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These bake quickly, so keep a close eye on them after the 15 minute mark.


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