Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s sweet potato and 5-spice muffins have a marketing strategy and celebrity status that reality TV starlets can only fantasise about.
Don’t believe me? Google “Gwyneth sweet potato muffin recipe” and see for yourself.
I spied Gwyneth’s healthy recipe in a magazine one day. That same day, a sweet potato happened to be loitering in my kitchen, pondering its fate.
On a whim, I decided to do a Gwyneth. But, after reading the recipe, I realised it’s not possible to do a Gwyneth muffin on a whim – planning and serious shopping were required.
Not in the mood for serious shopping, I did the next best thing: I made Not Quite Gwyneth muffins. (That’s a play on the name of well-known food blog Not Quite Nigella, owned by the enterprising and articulate Lorraine Elliott.)
To explain, I think of muffins as being fast and versatile, easily whipped up on a whim.
Provided you have the hero ingredient (sweet potato, in this case), you should be able to bang out muffins using standard pantry items.
It’s not like I’m making chilli crab, which requires a Proper Shopping List. Right? Wrong.
The recipe contained things like xanthan gum and xylitol, which aren’t my standard pantry items – nor yours, I imagine.
Still, it is a useful recipe, because I now have a grand total of 4 X-words (including “xylophone” and “X-ray”) in my arsenal for Scrabble and Bananagram.
Besides, it wasn’t hard to modify the recipe to make Not Quite Gwyneth sweet potato muffins. These muffins contain ingredients which are less, shall we say, cutting edge. But I got to use my sweet potato, thanks to inspiration courtesy of Gwyneth.
- my target muffin-eaters have no food intolerances, and
- I’ve been baking for long enough to confidently substitute ingredients.
Pictured above are my muffins inspired by Gwyneth’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free sweet potato muffins. Except that my version contains gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar (bwah ha ha hah).
Hmm, maybe that’s why she possesses a “butt of a 22-year-old stripper” (her words, not mine), while I just look like Gwyneth……’s true age, which happens to be my age. Killer body or not, I’m staying away from xylitol.
BELOW: TABLE OF MUFFIN DEVIATIONS
This makes about 40 mini muffins.
In the recipe below, the crossed-out sections indicate those parts of the original recipe that I didn’t use.
Step 1. Set the oven to 170°C (338°F).
Step 2. Mash the cooked sweet potato and stir in the egg, oil and milk. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
HOW TO MAKE VANILLA SUGAR ~ Whenever you need to use vanilla seeds in a recipe, save the pod. Put it in a bottle of sugar to perfume the sugar. ~ Don't worry if you don't have vanilla sugar. Just use brown sugar or normal sugar. Not-Quite-Gwyneth muffins aren't picky.
Step 3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in up to half a cup of water, so that the batter is loose enough to slowly plop off without you flinging the spoon.
The results passed muster
Thanks, Gwyneth, for prompting me to use sweet potato in muffins – it makes for a moist yet fluffy product.
And adding some spice lends a warmth to the muffins (though I stopped short of using 1½ tablespoons of five spice powder, lest my muffins taste like Chinese roast pork).
Finally, it was lovely having the muffin tops crack open satisfyingly, like a scone.
The target muffin-eaters gave these their stamp of approval, demolishing the lot within 3 days.
The Real Deal
For the unadulterated recipe, here is a link to Gwyneth Paltrow’s sweet potato and 5-spice muffins recipe.
To complete your experience, here is a video link to Gwyneth making those muffins with Rachael Ray.
Name Drop Challenge – Mission Accomplished!
Gwyneth Paltrow? Tick. Not Quite Nigella? Tick.
So, guess what? By mentioning those two personalities, I’ve conquered two of the Name Drop Challenges received as a result of my Michelle Obama and apples post.
Other ways with sweet potato
1. Shave ribbons of sweet potato, toss in a little oil and salt, and grill. Some will crisp up like chips; others will just go soft and sweet. Go ahead and fight over the crisped bits.
2. Grate raw sweet potato. Use in a salad. I was surprised to discover that raw sweet potato isn’t tannic.
3. Boil cubed sweet potato with pandan leaves, sliced ginger, sugar and lots of water, for a warming Cantonese dessert soup.
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