I don’t own a measuring spoon.
In the beginning it wasn't intentional. I had misplaced the ones that I did own. But weird as it sounds, I found this freedom from measurement liberating. With all the other things I obsess and perfect over in my life, cooking should be the one thing I can do without rules. Everything I need, I can get from my silverware or the pinch of my fingers.
When I first taught myself to cook, I followed recipes as if it was the word of God. I could not begin the process until I had spent at least an hour looking for the perfect recipe. And then I might change my mind 10 more times. And then, if I was missing one ingredient, I'd change my mind 10 more.
But as I got more comfortable, I realized how much more freeing it was to close out of the recipe on my phone, drop the measuring spoon, and just eyeball it.
This is all well and good for cooking. But they tell me (you know, the imaginary kitchen police) that this approach can’t be done for baking.
Baking requires formulas. Baking requires science. And baking most definitely requires measuring spoons.
Umm, respectfully, I say, F that.
I baked the meanest muffins this weekend (mean as in AWESOME), and I totally ignored the rules. Yes, I did consult a few recipes first (to get inspired), but then I just went for it.
I realize that it may take awhile for newbie cooks to get to this point. Obviously for me it took years of trial and error and obsessing. Which is why, before I dive into the recipe, I wanted to share with you a post that I did awhile back that helped me understand why formulas are used in baking – cookies specifically. If I could understand that, then I could be creative within the parameters of the rules. I highly recommend reading it it if you would like to come up with your own recipes:
Now, this time around, I didn't make cookies. I made muffins. But the process wasn't much different than cookies. (I'm sure many bakers would disagree with me)….
You've got your wet ingredients, your dry ingredients and your main ingredient – what creates the flavor. You mix them up seperately, then you mix them together. Then add in any finishing touches (i.e. a chocolate chip or a dried berry).
I knew I wanted something sweet. But not too sweet; something I could eat for breakfast, but also dessert. I had oodles of sweet potatoes that needed to be used before they went bad. And I wanted to use ingredients that boost the nutrition factor up a few notches.
And thus, Sweet Potato Paleo Muffins were born! Complete with nutrient-packed sweet potatoes, anti-inflammatory turmeric and healthy-fat coconut oil. Naturally sweetened with dates and a bit of maple syrup. And, best of all, the perfect dense/moist texture with just enough sweet to satisfy that nagging tooth.
Below is the recipe.
I realize the irony here that I’m writing a post about not following a recipe by giving you a recipe. But what I want you to do is feel inspired by the possibility that you don’t have to follow it to a T. You can be a little loose, and have a lot more fun.
So follow it. Don’t follow it. But whatever you do, don’t overthink it. Just test the batter as you go, add more good-tasting things if it’s not tasting good enough (your batter is a pretty heavy indicator of your final product), use common sense, and enjoy the process.
Sweet Potato Muffins Recipe
- 6 pasture-raised eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, clarified butter/ghee, or coconut oil, melted – I like this one
- 1 teaspoon pure star anise extract (because that’s what I had – feel free to use vanilla extract)
- 1 cup of dates
- ¼ cup of maple syrup
- 3 cups shredded sweet potatoes
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot flour
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- optional: 1/4 cup of some fun mix-in – dried cranberries, dried cherries, chocolate chiiiips!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put your cup of dates in a glass of water. You will let them soak for about the amount of time it will take you to do the next steps before you need to add in your dates (10 minutes or so).
- Prep your counter ahead of time with the following: 1 dry bowl (bowl for dry ingredients), 1 wet bowl (just guess what this one’s for), a muffin tin or muffin liners spread with coconut oil or butter so the batter doesn’t stick, snd a food processor.
- Pulverize the sweet potatoes in a food processor with a shredder. It took me about 10 sweet potatoes, but I was using the organic Trader Joe’s sweet potatoes which are unusually small. Unload them to a seperate bowl (you'll be needing the food processor for the dates).
- Mix together the dry ingredients: coconut flour, arrowroot flour, sea salt, baking soda, turmeric and cinnamon.
- Whisk eggs in wet bowl.
- Time to take care of your dates! Drain half the water out of the glass of dates. Throw them in your food processor (no reason to rinse out the sweet potatoes mess; it’s all going the same place). Pulse until it’s a smooth liquid.
- Add in melted butter/oil, anise (or vanilla) extract, maple syrup and date syrup.
- Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Fold in shredded sweet potatoes.
- Add in raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips – whatever floats your boat!
- Spoon the batter into your muffin tins or your muffin liners.
- Pop in oven for 25 minutes. Take out, check them with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Most likely, you’ll need 5-10 more minutes. But I’d rather you be safe than sorry.
- Once done, put on an upside down plate (or a cooling rack if you’re fancy like that). Do your darndest to wait until it cools off to eat one.
Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like to learn how to create their own cookie recipe or make a mean sweet potato muffin? See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.
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