Sweet Potato Muffins

It’s Pumpkin time again…that time of year when Americans are fascinated with hauling pumpkins in from the garden (or the local market) to decorate their homes and flavor their meals.

Next to Pumpkin Pie, which Tom requested for his birthday in August this year, Pumpkin Muffins are a family favorite. Just like Pumpkin Pie, they appear on the table all year round. My mom made these when I was a girl, but I’ve made some alterations over the years.

The biggest alteration includes a confession. And that would be:  I don’t use pumpkin in my pumpkin recipes! Living in the south years ago with an abundance of sweet potatoes, we found sweet potatoes to be a wonderful substitute for pumpkin. Richer, creamier and more nutrition packed, sweet potatoes can masquerade as pumpkin in your favorite recipes. And choosing sweet potatoes with orange flesh will slightly intensify the color of your “pumpkin” creations. Go ahead and call them “pumpkin” and your friends and family won’t be any wiser…unless, like me, you confess.

I love the heavily spice-scented aroma that fills the home when these muffins are baking in the oven. As I write, I can see and smell a little pat of butter melting on a freshly pinched open muffin…and oozing over my fingers, quick…a napkin. Pour up a steaming cup of…tea for me, maybe coffee for you, and we’ll enjoy a little bit of heaven.

When making these for a regular day breakfast, I like to mix the dry ingredients up the night before…just one less step in the morning. Besides breakfast, you’ll be proud to serve these for brunch. Or serve them in the evening alongside a bowl of soup and you’ll have a complete meal…or by the fireside with a mug of cider. You’ll know what to do!

Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Muffin Recipe:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin*
  • ¼ cup olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 ½ cup flour**
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with paper baking cups. Beat egg slightly. Stir in milk, pumpkin and oil. Blend dry ingredients together, then add to wet mixture. Stir until flour is moistened. Batter should be slightly lumpy. Fold in raisins. Fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot. Makes about 8 muffins.

*If you’re using sweet potatoes, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time. To prepare sweet potatoes, line a baking pan with foil. Make slits in the sweet potatoes, place on the pan and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until soft. Allow at least one hour, but maybe more depending on the size of the sweet potatoes.  Remove flesh from the skin of the sweet potatoes and mash with a fork…or use the blender. I prefer the blender for a smooth consistency. Prepared sweet potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

**I like to use ¾ cup white flour and ¾ cup freshly ground whole wheat flour.

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