By Sara Moulton Associated Press
When I told my mother — a fiend for candied ginger — that I was testing a batch of these muffins, she said she wished she could fly right over and dig in. She’s not the only one.
There’s just something about the combination of sweet potatoes and sweet spices that makes us happy.
Slowly baking sweet potatoes in the oven intensifies their sweetness. For expediency, we chose to microwave them for this recipe. But if you’d rather do it the old-fashioned (and tastier) way, plan to bake them for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees.
Another important player in this recipe is buttermilk. I like buttermilk’s creaminess and its tang. And it’s actually very low in fat.
Finally, these bad boys are topped off with some chopped, crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger).
You can also top these with the chopped nut of your choice. Just don’t tell my mother.
Sweet potato buttermilk muffins with candied ginger topping
3/4to 1 pound sweet potatoes (2 small or I medium)
1cup white whole-wheat flour
1cup all-purpose flour
1teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon table salt
1/2teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
1/4teaspoon ground allspice
1/4cup (1/2stick) butter, room temperature
1/4cup granulated sugar
1/4cup packed dark brown sugar
2teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2cup chopped crystallized ginger
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners or lightly spray the cups with cooking spray.
Prick the sweet potatoes several places with a knife. Microwave on high (or on the baked potato setting) until tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then peel and, in a medium bowl, mash with a fork. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of mashed sweet potato. Mix in the buttermilk, then set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and allspice.
In another medium bowl, combine the butter and both sugars. Use an electric mixer to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla, then mix on medium speed for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add half the flour mixture and beat the batter on low speed just until the mixture is partly mixed. Add half the buttermilk-sweet potato mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then mix in the remaining buttermilk mixture.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Top it with the crystallized ginger and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the pan and tip on their sides on a cooling rack; this prevents the bottoms from getting soggy. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. They are best eaten while still hot.
Makes 12 muffins.
Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories; 45 calories from fat (25 percent of total calories); 5 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 4 g protein; 240 mg sodium.