I have lots of yummy posts saved up for you. Tacos, Calzone, Pasta, Salads, and much more. However, after enjoying a delightfully TASTY and Greek-inspired meal prepared by my sister-in-law, I’m obliged to share this recipe. I had given her and my mother-in-law some sweet potato muffins to enjoy that morning, and they later requested the recipe. I feel all other posts must be jumped now to share this – it’s the least I can do after such an incredible meal.
I started making these muffins about a year ago. They come from the Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook, which I just recently finished reading cover-to-cover. If you don’t already own it, this is a cookbook I’d suggest picking up. It has healthy versions of food you may already love, plus plenty of new stand-bys. I’ve made many recipes out of this book over the years, and I’ve never come across one I didn’t love. There are amazing appetizer dishes that have always been hits at family get togethers, plus incredibly quick and easy chicken, seafood, & meat dishes. If you’re looking to learn some health/food/exercise facts, the sisters have plenty of information tucked between all the recipes. It’s educational and delicious!
But getting back to the muffins. The first time I made these was after a roast chicken dinner. I had roasted a couple of sweet potatoes whole, in their skin and had lots left over. Thoughts of soups, stuffed pasta, & pies came to mind, but I was non-committal. It just so happened that I was planning on making some healthy muffins to bring to work in the mornings, and I was perusing through my cookbooks for inspiration. When I looked through the ES&BM book I almost flew through the roof: sweet potato in my healthy bran muffins?!? How serendipitous that I should find this recipe when I had a fridgefull of sweet potato!
The recipe doesn’t call for roasting your sweet potato, but I find that the almost burnt caramelization around the skin imparts a sweetness and flavour that’s so much more exciting than some boiled, mashed sweet potatoes. Plus the roasted flavour goes very well the with pumpkin pie spices in the muffins. I will admit that the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup dried currants. But I hate currants or raisins in my baked goods. Yes. H-A-T-E. It’s a strong word, but I mean it. They remind me of dead flies, and I won’t eat ’em! Kyle however, does like currants (I still married him though), so when I make a double batch I’ll sometimes add them to the 2nd batch. When it comes to the large amount of bran, use it all: I had never made muffins using cereals before, and I remember the first time I made this I was sure the FOUR cups of bran flakes would be overwhelming and chunky in the muffins. But somehow during the mixing and baking process they disintegrate into the tender muffins, hiding their nutritious benefits within.
A Bran New World
Adapted from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry by Janet & Greta Podleski
1 cup roasted sweet potato, mashed
1 cup buttermilk *
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp grated orange zest
4 cups Bran Flakes cereal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and ground allspice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato through orange zest. Then add the Bran Flakes and mix well. Things are going to look pretty dicey at this point…hang in there, they are dee-licious!
In the bowl of a mixer (or another large bowl), combine the remaining dry ingredients (flour through allspice). Turn your mixer on to low and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. If you don’t have a mixer, just do this with a wooden spoon.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Fill the cups right to the top because there is LOTS of batter. Bake the muffins for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. These are tasty served warm, but trust me, they are just as good the next day!
Makes 12 muffins.
* If you don’t have buttermilk, measure just under 1 cup of 1% or 2% milk, then add 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, stir to combine. And there you have it: impromptu buttermilk!