Friday, December 3, 2010

Muffin Homage to Sweet Potato Casserole

In my previous life as director of a fledgling local museum, the biggest task tended to be fund-raising and one of our most successful projects was a collection of local recipes celebrating our town's bicentennial. It was my job to edit the recipes and once I corralled them into several categories including one called Heritage, for flavors handed down through generations, the book was so popular that it has since been reprinted to mark the museum's 25th anniversary. The second edition allowed me to replace my old food-stained copy.

One reason I don't ever want to be without this cookbook is that it contains a recipe for the holiday dish titled, simply, "Sweet Potatoes" contributed by a Mrs. Ann Gardner Gray. Mrs. Gray's combination of mashed sweet potatoes, butter, crushed pineapple and marshmallows, topped with coconut, gets me every time.

Another favorite recipe is Mix-N-Match Sweet Bread or Breakfast/Snack Muffins and comes from Deborah Taylor-Hough's book, Frozen Assets. In a later previous life, I was a personal chef and referred to this book often for ideas and foods that could be prepared ahead of time and frozen. If you're looking for a go-to muffin or quick bread recipe [do me a favor and please don't call it sweetbread(s) because that is not something that ever belongs in a muffin], this is your lucky day. As the title implies, it's a basic formula to which you can add your favorite ingredient, be it fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc., and mix it up!

So, I'd been thinking for a long time that the sweet potato casserole flavors belonged in a muffin. Then the family of my brother Ben's sweetie, the lovely Elyse, gifted me with some Virginia-grown sweet potatoes and pecans from their farm. These are pictures of the actual produce. Aren't they pretty?

Okay, they're not as pretty as Elyse, but they're not bad either.

Now, it seemed, the sweet potato casserole-in-a-muffin's time had come. And lucky for you (unlike the unfortunate pepperoni omelet incident of 1982), this time I was right! Totally, spot-on, 100%, bullseye. The resultant blended recipe is below and when you make them, gratification will be instant and sweet, as soon as those babies come out of the oven. The cinnamon and sweet potatoes' aroma will have already tempted, and let me tell you, they don't lie. When you pull one apart and melted marshmallow droops across your finger, just go for it -- crunchy pecans, tangy pineapple and sweet potato goodness all merge into one fabulous mouthful. Luckily, the recipe is also generous so when you eat 3 of them right away, no one will know because there are 15 more.

Sweet Potato Mix-N-Match Muffins

3 C all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3 t cinnamon
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar

Sift or mix together all dry ingredients. Then add remaining ingredients below and stir gently, only until incorporated.

2 eggs
3/4 C oil
3 t vanilla
2 C mashed sweet potato
1 C crushed pineapple
1/2 C roughly chopped pecans
1-1/2 C mini marshmallows

Spoon into 18 standard muffin cups and bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until tops are springy.

I hope you all have a great weekend, whether you're shopping, baking for friends and family, or kicking back in front of a warm fire or holiday movie.


  1. I just love recipes that are tried and true. I will keep this for sure.

  2. It looks wonderful.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this sweet potato widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about recipes for sweet potato,Thanks!

  3. Love your kittie and that casserole is to live your blog! Happy Holidays!

  4. Alisa, looks like I was able to get the widget. Thanks for the comment & link!

  5. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,


  6. Merci, Vincent/Camelia. I have registered with your site and installed the widget. Now to go back and browse your lovely content! My best, Donna