If you read my blog, you know that I love to bake out of Kim Boyce’s cookbook Good to the Grain, which uses whole grain flours in exquisite ways. Every single thing I have baked from the book has been absolutely perfect. This is a favorite muffin recipe, which uses leftover roasted sweet potatoes. Half of the sweet potatoes are whipped into the batter, and the rest are stirred in at the end, leaving soft pockets of sweet potatoes in the muffins. The first time I made this muffins, I was astonished at how light and fluffy they were. I had expected muffins built on sweet potatoes, buttermilk, yogurt, and dates to be dense and heavy, but they are so light and delicate. Kim Boyce knows how to coax magic out of her batters.
They’re simple to pull together for a weekend breakfast if you roast the sweet potatoes the day before. To save energy, you could throw the sweet potatoes in the oven while you’re baking something else.
Alternatively, you could use this batter to make a coffee cake. Butter a 9-10-inch square cake pan or loaf pan, and spread the batter into the pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350F
SWEET POTATO MUFFINS
2 sweet potatoes or one medium sweet potato (about 3/4 pound total)
1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used labneh)
6 large Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F. Roast the sweet potatoes for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on their size, until they’re tender when pierced with a fork. The bottoms should be dark, even burnt-looking, and the juices beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool, then peel and leave whole.
Lower the oven heat to 350F. Rub muffin tins with butter, or line them with muffin papers.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and yogurt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter and 2 sugars. Mix in high speed until they are light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and half of the sweet potatoes and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Again scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, so that the flour doesn’t go flying everywhere, add the dry ingredients and mix until partly combined. Add the buttermilk mixture and mix until combined. Add the chopped dates, separating them over the surface of the batter so they don’t clump together. Add the remaining sweet potatoes and mix until barely combined. There should be pockets of sweet potato in the batter. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Scoop the batter into 10-12 muffin cups, using a spoon or ice cream scoop. To encourage even baking and allow each muffin enough room to have an individual dome top, fill alternate cups in a 24-cup tin, or use two 12-cup tins. The batter should be slightly mounded above the edge.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350F. Rotate the pans halfway through. Take the tins out of the oven, twist each muffin and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy.
These muffins are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. They can also be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen and reheated.