These healthy, toddler-approved Sweet Potato Spice Muffins began as Pumpkin Spice Muffins, but when I wanted some quick muffins and the pumpkin was still in the freezer, I steamed a sweet potato and they became Sweet Potato Spice Muffins. I like them equally well with either sweet potato or cooked pumpkin. You could also use cooked squash as another alternative to either sweet potato or pumpkin.
The first time I made these muffins it took me back to when my mom used to bake traditional raisin bran muffins for us, long before muffins seemed to become just another version of sugar laden cake in a paper muffin cup. When my grandnieces tested these muffins recently and wanted more I knew these were to be the new generation of mom’s raisin bran muffins, just without gluten, dairy or eggs.
Here’s the ingredients list for raisin bran muffins from Canada’s most popular coffee shop:
Bleached enriched wheat flour, water, sugar, raisins, soybean and/or canola oils, fancy molasses, wheat bran, liquid whole eggs, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), modified cornstarch, salt, caramel colour, monoglycerides, guar gum, xanthan gum, whey powder (milk), corn syrup solids, enzyme (amylase) (1).
The first ingredient is “bleached enriched” flour. Even if you do not have sensitivities to gluten and can eat wheat flour, you will want to avoid bleached, enriched flour because it is processed with chemicals to make it white and nutrients are lost in the processing.
Whole grain flour contains all parts of the grain, the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran contains the fibre and trace minerals, and the germ contains B vitamins and trace minerals. Processing whole grain flour into refined flour includes removing the nutrient rich bran and germ and leaving only the endosperm, which is mostly carbohydrate. Furthermore, freshly milled flour is not pure white. It is off-white in color which apparently consumers don’t really like and prefer instead pure white flour (consumer conditioning, but more about that another day…). Unbleached flour naturally whitens slightly when it is exposed to oxygen in the air, without changing the texture of the flour (2).
Typically though, flour is chemically bleached using bleaching agents that include chlorine gas, chlorine dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, calcium and benzoyl peroxides and azodicarbonamide (3). Bleached, refined flour is lighter in texture than unbleached and rises more quickly in baked goods and breads.
SInce bleaching and refining depletes flour of nutrients, the solution to this is to add B vitamins and minerals back into the flour. Even though some nutrients are added back in, there is still no fiber and white refined flour is high on the glycemic index, so increases blood glucose and can wreak havoc with the hormone insulin.
Always opt for whole grains instead of refined, bleached and highly processed grains in your baked goods. This recipe uses whole gluten free oats as the primary grain. When purchasing, always look for organic grains. If you try these muffins, they’re sure to become a family favorite.
Sweet Potato Spice Muffins
- spice grinder, food processor OR blender
- 1 ½ cups oats grind into flour with spice/coffee grinder, food processor or blender
- ½ cup almond flour
- 3 tbsp ground psyllium
- 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 cup sweet potato purée
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- ½ cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
- Add sweet potato, vanilla, and lemon juice to a second bowl. Add coconut oil and pour hot water over the ingredients. Stir to melt the coconut oil and blend the ingredients together.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is combined and there is no remaining dry mixture in the bowl.
- Spoon mixture into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes.