This one's for my good friend Charlie - the loveliest muffins, with (very) hidden health benefits. Hey, any way we can find to fit some vegetables into the diet of a reluctant veg eater - we'll take it!
These muffins look a little austere, no unwelcome fruit poking out, no glaze or crunchy topping to cause concern but they are both rich and moist and strangely light and fluffy too.
The aroma of cloves, ginger and cinnamon and a whole new sugary sweet thickness permeate the whole house as I cook these - the fifth batch in less than a week, even the neighbours are starting to comment as they pass the house.
I've tested more pumpkin muffins than I care to admit to lately but I really wanted to find a version that was a wee bit more do-able all year round, as the Scottish pumpkin season is, not unexpectedly,very short so until alternative inspiration strikes - sweet potatoes it is.
I've have tried the same recipe with pumpkin (seasonally delicious), butternut squash (as you would expect - sweet and buttery) and I think a batch with carrot are definitely worth a try (cooked and mashed as with the sweet potato so as not to alarm any pre-school vegetable phobics in our midst whose antennae would pop up at first sight of a small orange strand). If the low sugar/more healthy label is not a priority - a demerara sugar and cinnamon streusal dusting on top just before baking gives a fabulous tooth-tingling crunch.
Sweet Potato Muffins
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
100 ml milk
1 tbsp honey (orange blossom works especially well)
90ml vegetable oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
optional : 3tbsp demerara sugar plus 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200C.
In a bowl, sift together all dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and sugar.
In a jug, whisk together egg, milk, honey, oil and mashed sweet potatoes.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir gently until just combined.
Spoon into muffin cases - this should fill around 10 muffin cases or 16-18 cupcake cases.
Bake for 15-20 mins depending on size and remove when golden on top and springy to the touch.
If you want to live dangerously - mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of muffins just before baking.