Sweet Potato Muffins from Sam Jones BBQ

As the weather turns colder, it seems harder to get out of bed in the morning. Lucky for us, Sam Jones of the Skylight Inn in Ayden, N.C., and Sam Jones BBQ in Raleigh and Winterville, N.C., has a terrific recipe to warm up those cold mornings.

These Sweet Potato Muffins are hearty, healthy, and gluten-free. Bake up a batch and stash them in the freezer. On those chilly mornings, give them a quick toast, and your day will already seem brighter. The muffins are also a great accompaniment to a plate of smoked meat or a hot bowl of Brunswick stew.

This recipe and more from the acclaimed pit master can be found in Sam Jones’ cookbook, Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue.

Sweet Potato Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

2 pounds sweet potatoes
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 large eggs, beaten
3 cups self-rising cornmeal (see note)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, until they are soft to the touch. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and mash them. Measure out 3 cups, and set the potatoes aside.
  3. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Line the cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with paper or parchment liners.
  4. Place the mashed sweet potatoes (warm from the oven or at room temperature) in a large bowl. Add the sugar, sour cream, and 1⁄4 cup of the melted butter. Mix well. Add the eggs. Slowly add the cornmeal while mixing. Mix well until fully combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops have browned. Brush the hot muffins with the remaining 1⁄4 cup melted butter and remove from the pans to cool before serving.
  6. The muffins will keep, well covered, for a day or two. Freeze for longer storage.

Note: If self-rising cornmeal is not available, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to a 1-cup measuring cup, then filling it the rest of the way with cornmeal. That will equal 1 cup self-rising cornmeal.

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