Sweet Potato Muffins
Either people are adamant about their love for our cornbread or they absolutely hate it. There is no middle ground. Younger people expect something fluffy and sweet, and our cornbread is exactly opposite of that. After it cools, it could go in your saddlebag and ride for days. There’s nothing fluffy or sweet about it.
After we opened Sam Jones BBQ, we had lots of complaints about the cornbread from folks who had never had it at Skylight. I’d rather make a living than be right, so Michael and I starting working on an alternative. We tried a few recipes that weren’t working out and were kind of at a loss about what to try next.
Kathy Diaz, who is one of the anchors in the SJB kitchen, overheard us talking about our search. She said she had a good recipe and made it for us. When the muffins came out of the oven, I brushed some melted butter on the top, and we tasted them. We had a winner. Butter makes everything better.
SWEET POTATO MUFFINS RECIPE
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)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
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.
Raise the oven temperature to 375°F. Line the cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with paper or parchment liners.
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.
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. The muffins will keep, well covered, for a day or two.
NOTE: If self-rising cornmeal is not available, you can make your own by adding 1 table- spoon 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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Reprinted with permission from Whole Hog BBQ by Sam Jones & Daniel Vaughn, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Denny Culbert. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.