I finally caved and added a mini muffin pan to my bakeware collection. I held out for a long time because I never understood the mini muffin’s utility. The “gone-in-two-bites” size, while cute, didn’t strike me as particularly practical. And honestly, I’d still rather gobble down a full-sized muffin instead of trying to approximate its mass with several petite morsels. That’s more work than I care to do, especially for something that disappears so quickly.
In recent months, however, I have acquired an item that runs on miniature versions of grown-up food: a toddler. So last Sunday we braved the below 30 degrees weather (I live in the somewhat balmy Mid-Atlantic where this level of cold is increasingly unusual) for a trip to the local World Market.
We returned victorious, with a mini muffin pan (only $9.00!) and a few additional items. It is, after all, an unspoken rule that when you visit World Market, you must always leave with more than you intended. Our unplanned purchases included a new whisk, a rug woven from old newspapers, and a rubber duck for the kiddo.
Already, that mini muffin pan has ushered into being more than 100 diminutive baked goodies of three different varieties – carrot, apple, coconut muffins; ham, cheddar, and quinoa bites; and sweet potato, apple, and cranberry muffins.
I like that it requires no refined sugar; instead, honey adds the right amount of sweetness.
I discovered the quinoa bites on a new-to-me food blog, Iowa Girl Eats. One look at the ingredient list – eggs, cheese, quinoa, ham, zucchini – and I knew my egg-and-cheese-loving girl would heartily approve. They incorporate every food group, and the recipe is easy to alter depending on what’s in the pantry on any given day.
The final goody, sweet potato mini muffins with apple and dried cranberry, are the result of my sudden enthusiasm for mini muffins and despair over what to do with the lone sweet potato languishing in my kitchen cupboard. Loosely based off the Weelicious recipe, this muffin uses maple syrup and a little dark brown sugar to add sweetness and depth to the flavor. If you want to completely cut out the refined sugar, you can double the amount of maple syrup and leave out the brown sugar.
- ½ cup of cooked and pureed sweet potato
- 1 medium grated apple
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup of dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of apple pie spice
- ½ cup dried cranberries (rehydrate in warm water if making this recipe for younger toddlers)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Combine the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine
- Mix together the next six ingredients in a large bowl
- Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the sweet potato-apple mixture and stir to combine
- Fold in the dried cranberries
- Spoon 1 T into greased mini muffin pan
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean
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