I'd passed it over many times thumbing through my favorite cookbook, "It's All Good" by Gwyneth Paltrow. Muffins? With sweet potatoes? With Chinese five-spice? The combination just sounded too strange to me. Until I decided to go out on a limb and try them.

As soon I licked the batter from my mixing spoon, I knew. How silly of me to disbelieve Gywneth.  Had she ever steered me wrong, with any recipe of hers I had made? No, not even once.

As the warm, spiced aroma of the muffins baking filled the air, I was reassured again. These were going to be killer. My mouth began to water.

The timer rang. I pulled the muffin pan from the oven, took a long whiff, and wished they would cool faster.

These muffins are (if you're me, unexpectedly) insanely delicious. The perfect marriage of flavors, these taste like you spent hours in the kitchen slaving away. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. With a short ingredient list and easy instructions, these muffins are the perfect make ahead, or weekend breakfast. I definitely recommend enjoying them outside in the fresh morning air with a homemade cappuccino, or curled up in front of a crackling fire with a cup of tea.


I tweaked these just the teensiest bit by subbing 1/4 of the flour called for in the original recipe with almond meal. I find that using almond meal makes for a more moist baked good, and I am all for that!

The muffins will keep several days, refrigerated in a sealed container. Although I cannot guarantee they will last long enough for leftovers. To reheat, warm them up in a toaster oven.

Makes a dozen muffins

1 large sweet potato

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

3/4 cup  maple syrup

plus 2 extra tbsp for brushing the muffins

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat, or gluten-free flour blend

(if the gluten-free flour doesn't contain xanthan gum, add 1 tsp)

1/2 cup almond meal

(if you have an almond allergy or do not have almond meal on hand, just substitute with your chosen flour)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

There are two possible methods of preparing the sweet potato. I usually opt for the second method (because I'm not patient enough to wait the extra hour for my breakfast).

  1. Slice a cross into the top of the sweet potato, and bake at 400°F until soft (when a paring knife can slice through it with zero resistance), about 1 hour. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  2. Slice a cross into the top of the sweet potato. Microwave for about 7 and a half minutes on high (the length of time depends on your microwave's power). Remove from microwave, and allow to cool completely.

Peel the sweet potato, and discard the skin. In a large mixing bowl, mash the flesh with a fork until a uniform consistency is reached. Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla into the sweet potato.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, five spice powder, and salt.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, and distribute the muffin batter evenly amongst the cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Brush the tops of the muffins with the extra maple syrup 5 minutes before the completed baking time. Allow to cool (this part is the toughest), before serving. Enjoy!