A month or so ago, we visited the area of coastal Queensland known as Wide Bay-Burnett. The area contributes a vast amount of fruit and vegetables to our tables including the humble sweet potato. Driving back and forth from Bundaberg to the coastal town of Bargara, we passed a huge sweet potato farm selling large bags of sweet potatoes for two dollars a pop. Hard to resist.
Sweet potatoes are rich in natural vitamin A and beta carotene which keeps our skin and immune systems healthy. They keep extremely well in their natural state, providing high quality starches. This makes them a staple in much of Sub-Saharan Africa where the leaves and vines are also eaten. I still recall enjoying a peanut and sweet potato leaf curry in Nairobi nearly 10 years later. As they are naturally sweet, sweet potatoes are also used in a variety of Asian desserts. This may seem unusual to our western tastes but it is really a case of mind over matter.
Sweet, Sweet Potato
We eat a lot of sweet potato in our house so a large bag poses no real challenge however, with the extra supplies, I wanted to try my hand at a dessert. The most common western style dish is candied sweet potatoes, served alongside the turkey at Thanksgiving in the US and Canada. Neither a savoury nor a dessert, the baked candied sweet potato is typically topped with a layer of marshmallow and grilled. Weird? Yes. I have a sweet tooth but even that dish is a step too far for me. Remember though, it’s mind over matter. If it’s what you have grown up with, it seems like a perfectly normal dish. These Sweet Potato Muffins with Blueberries recipe hold the middle ground. It creates a muffin that allows you to cut back on the sugar and leverage the natural sweetness of the sweet potato. As blueberries are in season, the addition of these little flavour bombs add an additional pop of sweetness. The cooked Sweet Potato Muffins aren’t giant cupcakes but smaller, moist cakes that are perfect for afternoon tea and freeze well. Sweet Potato Muffins are also a great way to hide some vegetables from your kids.
Sweet Potato Muffins with Blueberries
- 250g (1 cup) mashed sweet potato, cooled
- 150g plain flour
- 100g quick cook polenta
- 2 tspn baking powder
- 1/2 tspn bicarb of soda
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 100ml sour cream or plain runny yoghurt
- 1 egg
- 100g blueberries or other mixed berries (frozen berries are fine)
- 1 x 12 cup muffin tin & patty cake/muffin papers
- Peel, chop and cook enough sweet potato to mash down to 1 cup. I steam the chunks in the microwave but it is also quick to boil if that’s your preference. Mash and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 200c and line muffin tin with papers (a bit of spray & cook won’t go astray either)
- In a large bowl, mix flour, polenta, baking powder, bicarb and sugar
- In a separate bowl add the cooled mashed potato.
- Add the oil and sour cream or yoghurt to the sweet potato and stir to mix thoroughly. Whisk in the egg.
- Stir wet mix into dry mix and stir until all ingredients are just combined. A few dry bits or lumps won’t hurt
- Add in 1/2 the blueberries or other mixed berries.
- Divide between the 12 paper cases and gently press remaining blueberries on top of muffins.
- Bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Leave the Sweet Potato Muffins in the tin to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove muffins, in their cases to the rack to cool.
Makes 12 – 16 depending on size of muffin tins