Monday, February 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Blueberry Muffins...

     ...with a nutty struesel topping.

The monkey muffin tins aren't going anywhere.  Get used to them...

What?  More muffins?

Yeah, that's right.  Today, we're going to be making plant-based sweet potato blueberry muffins with a nutty maple streusel topping.

Again, these treats are completely vegan, but more importantly, they're made without oils and fatty vegan spreads or shortening.  Instead, they use plant-based ingredients, such as apple sauce, soy milk, and sweet potato puree to provide moisture and binding.

I know...  I know...  The chocolate chip oatmeal muffins from earlier in the month were pretty good.  But it is really possible to make consistently good muffins without using oils or shortening?

Well, I gave my sister this recipe just last week, and she's already made two batches.  I also brought a dozen into work earlier in the month, and they lasted all of ten minutes.  Three of my co-workers immediately asked for the recipe.

So yes, it's possible to prepare delicious baked goodies without using heavy, fatty ingredients.  What's more, once you start eating goodies made with minimally-processed plant-based ingredients on a regular basis, any baked goods made with oils and fatty spreads or shortenings will taste heavy, greasy...  and in some cases downright nasty.

Mookie likes to air out his pits by the fire...

The other day in our break room, there was a box of assorted muffins, donuts, and cake-things that somebody had brought in from the local coffee joint.  After leerily eyeing the collection in search of a morsel that would do minimal damage, I cut off about an eighth of what looked to be a 'healthy, whole grain corn muffin' and wolfed it down.  Almost immediately, I felt a dense ball of sludge crash into the pit of my stomach, where it peskily resided for the next few hours.

On the other hand, you can eat two or three of these muffins we're about to make in one sitting, and you won't get the asteroid effect.  It's amazing what a difference it makes when you bake with whole grains, fiber, plants, and just a bit of maple syrup and brown sugar.

But enough of my babbling.  On to the muffins...

Your ingredients are as follows:

Don't Sneeze...  Or You'll Blow The Following All Over The Counter

1.50 cups whole-wheat pastry flour - I like Bob's Red Mill
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I use kosher salt)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Gooey, Wet, Mushy, Etc...

1 cup canned sweet potato puree (or pumpkin puree - I prefer sweet potato)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup soy milk (or another plant based milk)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries

And Don't Forget...

2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Let's get started.  Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, dump 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar.  Use a fork to mash out and break up any sugar lumps.

Add 1.50 cups whole-wheat pastry flour 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Whisk together and set aside.

In another bowl, add 1 cup canned sweet potato puree, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 cup soy milk (or another plant based milk).  Whisk together all wet ingredients until well combined.

In a third bowl, add 2 Tbs of brown sugar and 2 Tbs maple syrup.   Whisk together until you've got a nice gooey uniform mixture.   Chop up 1/3 cup walnuts, dump them into the gooey mixture, and mix around.

Putting It All Together...

The struesel will creep all over the tops of the
muffins as they bake in the oven...
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and dump in the wet ingredients.  Using a big, rubber spatula, gently fold the dry and wet ingredients together until the mixture is just combined.

Dump 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter and gently fold in. Line a 12-muffin pan with paper liners (use the liners with the inner flashy coating and they won't stick) and divide the better between all 12 wells.   It may seem like the muffin wells are over-full.  Don't worry about it.  JUST DO IT!!!

Drop a small mound of nutty streusel mix on top of each well of muffin batter.  Don't worry.  The mound will gently spread out and coat the top of the muffins as they bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  I've always found that 25 minutes is just about the perfect time.  The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove them from the pan immediately and cool on a rack.

As with the chocolate chip muffins from earlier in the month, these muffins are best after at least 24 hours out of the oven.  In fact, I think 48 hours is the ideal time to wait before chowing down.  So if you're making them for a crowd, make them two days ahead of time.  Hopefully, you'll still have a few left when it's time to serve them.

Who is this...  'Great Leader'...  anyways?