Your Brunch Soul Mate
Everyone loves Sweet Potato Casserole, am I right? It's a Thanksgiving favorite for good reason. It's kind of like eating dessert, but it counts as a vegetable. Or so we tell ourselves 😉
A couple of years ago I created a recipe that transmutes this yummy flavor combination into breakfast form... muffins, to be specific. They are SO SO good and perfect for your Sunday brunch.
This recipe is a total crowd pleaser (kids adore them!), with special thanks to the vegan marshmallows thrown into the mix. Little bursts of sweetness that make these muffins truly memorable.
Are marshmallows healthy? Of course not. But I believe that an occasional treat like this is 100% acceptable, especially if you eat healthy whole food, plant-based meals most of the time.
BUT, if you are entirely opposed to marshmallows because you'd much rather make an entirely healthy batch of muffins, you can simply swap chopped dates in place of the marshmallows, and they will STILL taste amazing.
So what are vegan marshmallows? This is a common question.
But let's back up. Aren't regular marshmallows vegan? That answer is no. This is because traditional marshmallows contain gelatin, which is an animal product.
So vegan marshmallows are ones that do not rely on gelatin.
Trader Joe's sells them seasonally (photo below), or you can look for a brand called Dandies (which is also sold at health food stores like WholeFoods, Sprouts and Wegmans).
If you can't find them in person, you can order Dandies on Amazon, but only if you're in urgent need and don't mind being price-gouged. Otherwise this is not the place to buy them. Vitacost sells Dandies at a much better price, but they're full-sized marshmallows, so you'll need to chop them up for this recipe.
If you can find miniature vegan marshmallows, those will be much better for this recipe.
I have a hunch this will become one of your favorite fall plant-based baking recipes.
So without further ado, let's get started.
After all, once you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my link, I'll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!
This recipes makes 12 standard muffins
Gluten-free alternative: In place of the whole wheat flour, use ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour, ½ cup oat flour and ½ cup buckwheat flour.
See below for more extensive ingredient notes.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with parchment baking cups.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup rolled oats with 1 cup almond milk.
3. Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine, and then set aside.
4. Grind 1 Tbsp whole flaxseed using a small blender such as a NutriBullet (I use the flat blade for this task). If you're using pre-ground flaxseed meal, you can skip this step.
5. Place the ground flaxseed in a small bowl and combine with 3 Tbsp water. Use a fork to whisk it rapidly, and then set aside to allow the mixture to congeal.
6. This is a good time to chop the pecans if you haven't already. And if you'd like to chop the marshmallows, you can do that, too. It's not necessary to chop the marshmallows if they're already mini. I happen to prefer smaller marshmallow chunks in my muffins, but that's entirely up to you.
If, instead of marshmallows, you're using dates, remove the pits and chop the dates into small pieces.
As you work, place them in a bowl and sprinkle them with flour.
Toss to coat the date pieces with flour so they won't clump together.
7. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or the gluten-free substitution), ½ cup almond flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon.
8. Stir all the dry ingredients together until thoroughly combined, and then make a well in the center.
9. Place the wet ingredients in the center of the well: 1 cup sweet potato puree, ¼ cup maple syrup, the oats + milk mixture, the flax + water mixture, and 3 Tbsp coconut milk.
10. Begin stirring all the wet ingredients together, and then slowly begin incorporating the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture is just coming together (no more streaks of flour), but be careful not to over-stir.
In the photo below, the batter is not quite mixed enough, because you can still see some flour (on the left). Just a few more turns of the spoon will be all it needs.
11. Once the batter is mixed, add the chopped pecans and marshmallows (or dates). Fold them in gently.
12. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 wells of your prepared muffin tin.
13. Slide the pan into the preheated oven, and bake for 32 minutes, or until a toothpick pressed into the center of one muffin comes out clean (except for melted marshmallow, of course).
14. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before removing the muffins.
15. Remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Sweet Potato Puree: You can buy canned organic sweet potato puree in some well-stocked health food stores. Of course you can simply make your own by steaming or boiling sweet potatoes and blending them in a food processor. Leave the skins on (especially if they're organic), as the skins contain beneficial nutrients!
If you'd like to order sweet potato puree online, Amazon offers it as an "Amazon Fresh" item for local delivery. If you're thinking of baking a lot of these muffins, you might even consider a case. Alternatively, Vitacost has a good price, and as always, they offer free shipping on orders over $49.
Coconut Milk: This means the full-fat, unsweetened kind that comes in a can, not the "coconut milk beverage" you can buy in the refrigerated section of the grocery store to pour on your cereal.
Coconut milk is a high-fat ingredient, so I use it sparingly, to replace the oil in traditional muffin recipes. This keeps them moist. I like Thai Kitchen brand (Amazon has a great price on a six-pack), and WholeFoods and Wegmans both have a store-brand organic canned coconut milk that is tasty and inexpensive.
For the record, I'm not a fan of the canned coconut milk you can sometimes find at Trader Joe's (the texture isn't as smooth as the other brands).
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but are often processed in plants that also process gluten-containing foods. So if you have a severe allergy, be sure to find certified gluten-free oats to avoid cross-contamination.
Flaxseed: I buy whole golden flax seeds (Amazon or Vitacost) and grind them only as needed, because once ground, the nutritional value of flax seed diminishes over time. For convenience, you can skip this step and buy pre-ground flaxseed meal. If you do, be sure to store the package in the fridge after you open it, to protect its nutrients and keep it from going rancid.
Almond Flour: You can find almond flour just about anywhere these days. I buy mine from Trader Joe's, but if you want to order it online, you can buy from Amazon or Vitacost. Costco has it, too, at an excellent price.
Vegan marshmallows: What makes marshmallows vegan or not? It's the use (or omission) of gelatin, which is derived from animal bones. The mini marshmallows sold at Trader Joe's this time of year are vegan, but if you don't live close to TJs, you can find Dandies brand vegan marshmallows at WholeFoods or Wegmans, and sometimes even at mainstream supermarkets in the health food aisle. Amazon has them, but not at a great price, and Vitacost only sells the large ones, but you can chop them yourself.