In keeping with my vegan attempts for the month of March, I made a batch of completely vegan and gluten free sweet potato muffins. The key ingredient in these is Chinese five-spice powder, which in my mind I keep accidentally calling "five star" powder. After making these, I think it's fair to call them "five-star" muffins : )
"Five Star" Muffins
adapted from "It's All Good" recipe
2 sweet potatoes (or 1 really large one)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup good quality maple syrup, plus a little extra for brushing the muffins
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour (and add 1 tsp xanthan gum* if the flour doesn't include it). You can also use regular/whole wheat/spelt/whatever flour you have on hand if you don't mind the gluten.
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 Tbsp Chinese five-spice powder (I found mine at Whole foods; it's a blend of cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise and white pepper, and really takes these muffins to the next level.)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
*This is a binding agent to hold food particles together, making it the ideal substitute in gluten-free baking. It's a tad pricey but a little goes a long way.
Wrap your sweet potatoes in a dish towel and microwave until soft (about 8 minutes). Cut in half and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together your wet ingredients (olive oil, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract) in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Mix together your dry ingredients (everything else) in a large bowl and set aside.
Peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes and place into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Using an electric beater, whisk the ingredients together until blended. Add in the dry ingredients until everything is mixed.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Prep a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners and spoon the mixture into each section. Bake for 12 minutes, then baste the top of each muffin with maple syrup. Bake for another 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: like many homemade baked goods, these have no preservatives and therefore will dry out/get yucky quickly when left out. Keep these in a sealed container in a dry, cool place and transfer to the refrigerator after a day or so. They should then keep up to 5 days. You can also freeze them and defrost as you need.