With beautifully tall muffin tops and lightly sweetened, these Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins are perfect for any time of day. The simple ingredients really shine in this easy dairy and nut-free bake (no mixer needed!).
I’m into muffins. Morning muffins, afternoon muffins, end-of-the-day muffins. Yet I’ve never found the perfect muffin— flavorful but not too sweet and with that classic tall dome covered in streusel like you see in coffeeshop counter displays. They’ve always looked the most inviting to me, tops overflowing their paper liners as though they’re peeking out to see when I arrive. Almost like they are jumping up to say “Hi, Sara! Pick me, pick me!”
Like any good streusel muffin connoisseur, I squint at the case to judge which muffin reached it’s highest potential. The cashier watches me, bored, and the people in line behind me angrily tap their feet. Unperturbed, I take my time. This is not a decision to be rushed. I’m looking for the perfect balance of height and flavor, as told by the golden edges, just the right amount of crumb on top. Finally, to everyone’s relief, I make my choice. That one, I proclaim. Then, I gingerly carry it to an open seat by the sunniest window, where I sip on a latte and enjoy the company of my freshly baked streusel muffin.
Can you imagine if I really did that? I think I would ban myself from the coffeeshop. Instead, I keep my search for the best streusel muffins restricted to my kitchen and my own muffin tin, free from the impatient sighs of others who just want to grab their order and go.
I learned the simple trick to achieve those incredible muffin top heights from Kristie. Bake your muffins in alternating spaces in the tin. Although it seems silly to waste such valuable real estate in your pan, the extra room allows for better heat circulation and encourages a higher rise. You’ll get to enjoy warm streusel muffins while the second round is baking anyway, so there’s no harm in doing it.
Since it’s January and everyone is still riding the high of their New Year’s resolutions, I figured we could go for something lighter this week. We won’t cut out carbs completely because, you know, muffins. However, we can fill these streusel muffins with vegetables. After all, I think we’re all a few years beyond the age when a cereal-induced sugar rush first thing in the morning was the norm.
Thinking about what to bake, I also happened to be writing my grocery list while watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show. As the contestants pureed butternut squash and grated carrots for their vegetable-based bakes, I jotted down ‘sweet potatoes’. It’s the only kind of potato I actually like. Easy to find, affordable, likely already in your pantry. There’s no advance prep beyond wrapping it in a tin foil cocoon, then mashing it with a fork. (Which, by the way, is one of the most satisfying and productive ways to vent frustration.) Thus the sweet potato streusel muffins were born.
Chopped dates add texture and natural sweetness. Ground rolled oats lightens the batter. Crumbly brown sugar streusel tops it all off.
I found that there are two types of people in this world. Those who take only the streusel on their slice of cake and those who shamelessly pick it off because it’s the best part. I— shamelessly— fall in the latter group. At least now you’ve been warned. Despite whatever amount of puppy dog eyes I send your way, if you value your streusel then don’t share with me.
On that note, the oven is beeping and this batch of Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins has my name all over it.
- FOR THE MUFFINS:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato (~1 large sweet potato)*
- ¾ cups neutral oil
- ⅔ cups packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped medjool dates
- FOR THE STREUSEL:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- pinch of fine sea salt
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cut 10 squares of parchment paper (or use cupcake liners to line the pan) and set aside.
- First, make the streusel by mixing the dry ingredients, then pouring in the oil. Use your hands or a fork to continue mixing until a crumbly texture forms. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse the oats until you reach a coarse powder. Don't worry about some larger pieces, this will add texture. Transfer the ground oats to a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, and whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the sweet potato, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, folding gently with a rubber spatula or spoon just until a few flour streaks are left. Add in the chopped dates and finish folding until completely incorporated.**
- Line alternating spaces in the muffin pan and fill each to the top. Sprinkle on a generous amount of streusel. Bake for 18-21 minutes, until the top of the muffin springs back when lightly touched. Begin checking at the 18 minute mark.
- Let the muffins cool on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature for 4 days.
**Be careful not to overtax the muffin batter! This will result in dry, tough muffins.