When I decided to focus on the Dominican Republic this weekend, I was attracted by a recipe for a recipe for pan de batata from the excellent Aunt Clara’s Kitchen Dominican cooking blog. It looked to be naturally gluten-free and probably tasty. However, it looked more like pudding than bread (“pan” means bread) or cake, and other pan de batata recipes I saw on other sites confirmed this. I didn’t want pudding. I wanted muffins. Partly because they freeze well and go nicely into lunchboxes. Partly because, well, I just like muffins.
In addition to the aforementioned pan de batata recipe, I found a couple of gluten-free sweet potato muffin recipes that sounded good, one at The Roasted Root and one at Meg’s Vegucation, but neither of these seemed 100 per cent perfect to me, though the Roasted Root one ended up being my rough template. It’s true – although I was going to be baking with the notoriously difficult coconut flour for the first time, I couldn’t resist experimenting a little.
I stuck pretty much to the spicing for the pan de batata but I added self-raising gluten-free flour AND baking powder because I wanted something light, not dense. I also used plenty of eggs, but I gather you have to when baking with coconut flour. I added shredded coconut as well, both in the muffin and on top, because I wanted it to taste properly coconutty.
Then I got nervous. So I baked a single muffin first and trying it to see if I needed to adjust anything. It was a good job I did. While my first attempt turned out tasty, it was closer to the pudding end of things than I wanted. I wanted a muffin that was moist but fluffy, so I added a bit more flour and some gluten-free oatmeal for a bit more structure. The result? Exactly what I wanted: a gorgeous, moist but light muffin with one foot still in the pudding world but the other planted firmly in Muffinland.
I make no claim that these are in any way authentically Dominican. They are, however, delicious and tropical-tasting with the earthy smell of sweet potato and the unmistakable coconut. My whole family loved them.
Sweet potato coconut muffins
Makes about 24 good-sized muffins
- 2½ cups roasted, mashed sweet potato
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 6 eggs
- 1½ cups hazelnut milk (I’m sure almond milk would work too)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1½ cup self-raising gluten-free flour (I used Dove’s Farm)
- ½ cup gluten-free oatmeal
- 1½ tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for sprinkling on top
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- Line or grease 24 muffin tins and preheat oven to 340 F/170 C/150 C gas.
- Combine all the wet ingredients and coconut flour in a large bowl. (Coconut flour is supposed to be very absorbent so I thought it would do well with maximum time to absorb moisture before baking.)
- Add the dry ingredients and beat well.
- Spoon into muffin tins to nearly the top and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake for about 45 minutes, until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out more or less clean.
Note: Sweet potato is moderate in FODMAPs but a 1/2 cup serving is supposed to be safe. Given that two and a half cups of mashed sweet potato went into 24 muffins, one muffin a serving should be just fine.