Before leaving for our trip to Maine last week, I felt like I was in dire need of a break from baking. I kind of felt like I was in a rut and I just wasn’t feeling that inspired - it happens every now and then, and it’s perfectly normal. I’m happy to report that the trip completely helped me out of my slump mostly due to all the incredible and creative pastries/baked goods I consumed over the few days that we were there. Even though I ate healthy for a few days when we returned home (did you see my guide and how much we ate?!), I was SO excited to get back to baking this past weekend.
If you read my Portland city guide, you may have noticed that I recommended a lot of bakeries and cafes, but it wasn't only at these incredible spots where I found my inspiration. One of the mornings, we trekked to the Deering Oaks Park farmers market and perused what Maine had to offer in terms of fresh produce, flowers, dairy products, etc. At one of the numerous booths, they had samples of different fall-flavored baked goods, including sweet potato chocolate chip muffins - a kind of muffin I didn’t even know existed. Alex and I both took a (big) piece and fell absolutely in love with them; as much love as you can with a baked good. I turned to him and said “I can’t wait to go home and figure out how to replicate these”.
So, I did exactly that. I returned home and tested out a couple of different recipes until settling on what I thought came as close to the farmers market version. In one batter, I used olive oil while in another I used vegetable oil. In another batch, I roughly chopped up dark chocolate into misshapen pieces, while in another I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. In the end, the winner to me was the combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and vegetable oil, although if you’d prefer to use olive oil, there wasn’t that huge of a difference in flavor.
Another aspect of this recipe worth noting is that there are two flours being used: regular all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour, a flour you can easily find at any grocery store. With the addition of half a cup of white whole wheat flour, you’ll get a bit more nutrition and in terms of flavor, the muffins will take on a subtle nuttiness - nothing overpowering though. I noticed that most of the sweet potato muffin recipes that I came across online used only a type of whole wheat flour, mainly to yield “healthy” muffins, but today my goal was to recreate the ones I had in Maine, and in the end, the blend of flours came out on top. Note: whole wheat flour is perfectly acceptable in place of white whole wheat flour.
I’m sure you’re wondering a couple of things regarding the sweet potato aspect of these muffins: 1) do the muffins taste savory because of it? and 2) how do I prepare the sweet potatoes? For the former question, these absolutely do not taste savory, and I suppose the best comparison would be to desserts that use pumpkin. Like pumpkin, sweet potatoes have a mild sweetness that works beautifully when used in baked goods and other desserts. In the end, you’ll end up with a hint of sweet potato, but mostly you’ll just be enjoying an incredibly moist muffin with cozy fall flavors and a healthy portion of chocolate chips. As for the latter question, you’ll have to put a little more effort in for these muffins because it requires you to bake the sweet potatoes before even getting to the muffin batter. Just like making a baked potato, you’ll have to roast the sweet potatoes for about 45 min. to an hour, allow them to cool, and then scoop out the interior, no skin included. You only need 1 cup of “mashed” sweet potato, but I would recommend baking 2 medium sweet potatoes just in case.
I strongly recommend topping each muffin with additional chocolate chips before popping them in the oven. This makes the muffins look more bakery-style, aka more appealing to the eye and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with more chocolate. Lastly and most importantly**, pay attention to the oven temperatures (yes, plural) given in the recipe, because this will aide you in getting that lovely domed muffin top that we all enj0y to eat.
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12-14 muffins
Recipe adapted from Genius Kitchen
1-2 medium sweet potatoes, you’ll need 8oz. worth of mashed sweet potato
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. milk, any kind, including almond
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. oil, olive or vegetable
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour/white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. With a fork, poke holes all over the potatoes. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Unwrap the potatoes from the foil, and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing open and spooning out 80z. (1 cup) worth of sweet potato. Mash with a fork and set aside. You’ll most likely have extra.
Raise the oven temperature to 425°F. Line the muffin tin with liners or coat each muffin cavity generously with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, mashed sweet potato, milk, and oil. In a separate bowl, whisk the two flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, fill each muffin cavity almost to the top. Sprinkle 5-6 chocolate chips on the top of each muffin. Bake in the oven at 425°F for 5 minutes, then lower the oven to 350°F, and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes. The muffins are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy warm, or the next day!