Thursday, February 18, 2016

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Mini Muffins

If you have been following my blog for very long, I'm sure you've noticed how much I enjoy sneaking veggies into breakfast in things like: Spinach Mini Muffins, Spinach Pancakes, and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Mini Muffins. And I'm constantly looking for more recipes like this. Just for the record, when I say sneaking, I mean that the finished product does not taste like a vegetable, not that I go out of the way to hide it from my kids. My son has helped me make spinach mini muffins many times and he knows I use lots of fresh baby spinach when I make them, and he has also seen me make these and all of the other muffins I make and often wants to help me make them, so he sees when I am adding vegetables. 

I started finding ways to include vegetables into breakfast because my 17-month-old is sort of hit and miss when it comes to vegetables, but she will always eat a pancake or muffin. This is a way to ensure she gets some vegetables every day, so I don't have to stress as much about what she's eating on days when she refuses to eat her vegetables at other meals. I also love to include veggies in breakfast just to add some extra vegetables to the rest of our diets...because who couldn't use a few more veggies in their life? 

So today I thought I'd share yet another muffin recipe...whole wheat sweet potato mini muffins! These are delicious! This is my first time trying a sweet potato muffin, and let me tell you, it will not be my last! They remind me a little of pumpkin muffins, so if you like those, you'll probably like these! Since this is the first time I've made this recipe, I'm going to call it a work in progress and will update this recipe as needed if I make any changes when I make them again. (**Updating to say I just made these for the second time, and I have made some adjustments to the recipe to make them a bit healthier. Enjoy!**) 

This recipe does require a little bit of forethought because you will need to cook a sweet potato to get 1 cup worth of puree. My favorite way to cook sweet potatoes for puree is in the crock pot. They always come out perfect and creamy and they can cook over night while you sleep! This method only works if you are cooking 3 or more sweet potatoes. If you are only cooking one (like I did this time), you can bake it in the oven. 

I scrubbed one sweet potato, poked holes in it with a fork, and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. 

I place the sweet potato directly on the oven rack with a pan underneath to catch the sugary juices that will ooze out while it bakes. If you don't put a pan underneath this will get in the bottom of your oven and burn, and it is a pain to clean, so please put a pan under your sweet potato when it bakes! 

Start checking it around 45 minutes for should be very soft and the skin will start to pull away from the potato. A fork should pierce easily all the way through the skin. You will need one cup of puree after it is cooked, so choose a medium to large sweet potato if you are only cooking one.  

After the potato baked, I peeled off the skin (it will come off very easily) and mashed it up with a fork. Then I refrigerated it until the next morning. If you want a perfectly smooth sweet potato puree, feel free to use a blender or food processor. I found that mashing with a fork got the sweet potato mashed enough for me, and when all of the ingredients mixed together, there weren't any large chunks of sweet potato in the muffins. 

Now we make the muffins! Start with the dry ingredients in one bowl (white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg). 

Next it's time for the wet ingredients (sweet potato puree, brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, applesauce, milk, and vanilla). The extra milk was not included in the original recipe, but I found that the batter looked a bit dry since I used whole wheat flour. If you use all-purpose flour you may not need the milk, but use your judgment. The batter is thick, but should still be like batter and not paste-like. I reduced the sugar and oil from the original recipe as well by adding in some applesauce. I also increased the vanilla. Vanilla and applesauce help add to the sweetness, so we did not miss the 1/4 cup of brown sugar I removed! 

Now we add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix them until they are just combined. 

Then pour into greased or paper-lined mini muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

The tops of the muffins should spring back when you touch them lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. 

Like pumpkin muffins, these are actually more moist and taste better the next day, so don't be alarmed if they seem a little dry when you first bake them. A little butter on the top of the muffins goes a long way if they seem a tad dry the first day. 

I had some cinnamon-sugar butter that I put on a few of the muffins. (See the shiny ones in the above pictures?) They looked and tasted so good that I decided to butter the rest. 

They are delicious muffins, and my kids loved them! Give these a won't be disappointed! 

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Mini Muffins
Adapted from: 

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup sweet potato puree*
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled (or canola oil) 
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside. 

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree, brown sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, milk, and vanilla. 

Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir just until combined. 

Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Makes about 35 mini muffins. 

*To make the sweet potato puree, I baked one sweet potato at 400 degrees for about an hour, until it was very soft. I then peeled the skins off and mashed it up with a fork. You could also puree it in a blender (with the milk or applesauce if needed) to get a smoother consistency. 

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