What in the world has happened to muffins? Is it just me or have they taken a turn to the too-too sweet and the too-too cake-like?
And okay, so cupcakes are supposed to be airy and cakey and sweet. But there are two-million-bazillion cupcake recipes, each one competing on the Cute Quotient. (I kid you not. Have you seen the baking blogs lately? Talk about CuteCupcakeOverload.) Cupcakes have their place.
But on the other end, the muffin end, how many muffin recipes are of the savory sort? Once upon a time, I did one of those get-to-know-you corporate team-building exercises. One query after another, virtually all the participants ended up on one side of the room, leaving one or sometimes two people feeling awkward and isolated on the other side, wondering what, exactly, they'd said to warrant the separation. Well, that's the savory muffin, lost and friendless at the far end of the cupcake-to-muffin lineup.
This little savory muffin? She deserves some friends, a whole worldful of friends, Facebook and Pinterest and even the soul-less Google+. First, she's a looker! (Isn't she?!) With tiny cubes of sweet potato and feta, she's showin' her stuff and proud of it. And she's got spirit. That pepper makes the first bite a surprise and the second bite the "got it" bar of a favorite song long unheard.
Me, I'm making friends with savory muffins, even if that means standing alone on the lonely side of the room. But maybe, just maybe? You'll join me too. C'mon, do!
RECIPE for SAVORY MUFFINS with SWEET POTATO & FETA
Time to table: 75 minutes
Makes 12 regular-size muffins
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 green onions, white bulbs cut in half lengthwise, then white and green parts chopped to yield about 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup (80g) feta, cut in 1/4-inch cubes or crumbled into small pieces
3/4 cup (50g) grated Parmesan
Roasted sweet potato (less the 1/2 cup set aside)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 160g
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 95g
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup reserved roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup (40g) feta cubes
PREP Set oven to 400F. Lightly spray a twelve-cup standard-size muffin tin.
ROAST SWEET POTATO Peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/4" dice. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer, spreading out as much as possible. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked but not yet cutting crispy on the outer edges. Let cool a bit. IMPORTANT for APPEARANCE'S SAKE: Set aside a half cup of roasted sweet potato.
SAVORY ADD-INS In a medium bowl, combine the green onion, parsley, cheeses and roasted sweet potato.
MUFFINS In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and mustard. Stir in the Savory Add-Ins. In a bowl (you can use the one the onion-sweet potatoes were in), stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and pepper. Gently stir flour mixture into the muffins just until combined, do not over mix.
TOPPING With two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill the muffin tins. With your fingers, press a few cubes of sweet potato and feta into the top of each muffin.
BAKE Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are slightly golden.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
HOW TO DICE A SWEET POTATO First cut the whole peeled sweet potato crosswise into 1/4-inch "rounds". (Okay, they're not really 'round' but you know what I mean?) Stack three or four of these rounds on the cutting board. Use your fingers to keep the stack intact and cut one direction about 1/4" wide, this makes a 1/4-inch "julienne" cut. Now - this is important - turn the cutting board, not the sweet potato, a quarter turn. Again, use your fingers to hold the stack together and cut the other direction. Voila - wasn't that easy? The process is similar to How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers if you'd like to see pictures.
NOT INTO SWEET POTATOES? Butternut squash would work, so would carrots, I think.
TOPPING I kinda-sorta pooh-poohed the idea of pressing last little cubes of roasted sweet potato and feta into the muffin tops before baking. But check the photo. I forgot to save aside some sweet potato but did have some extra feta. The muffins are just more appealing with a little more going on on top.
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MORE FAVORITE SAVORY BREAD RECIPES
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~ Whole Grain Bread ~
~ more bread (with vegetables) recipes ~
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