We first enjoyed sweet potato muffins when we were in Colonial Williamsburg, where we stopped for a weekend before we headed to Hilton Head for a family vacation several years ago. We had a great time, except for how dang hot it was. I ended up buying a giant straw hat just to stop the sun from burning my face, shoulders and neck (even with sunscreen on). My husband bought a refillable mug and kept getting it reloaded with root beer to stay cool.
We love living history museums and this was a great one, except there was a LOT of walking, which is not so much fun with kids in the heat. We spent two days here and saw a witch trial, took a ghost tour, explored the governor’s palace and visited many working period shops in the “town” and petted some farm animals. My daughter declared that Patrick Henry was her hottie after passing him on the street where he was proclaiming “give me liberty or give me death.”. She came home with a tricorn hat to remember the experience.
We stayed at the Williamsburg Woodlands hotel in a nice little two room suite, which was like a lovely little Poconos-type resort with a game room, a mini golf course in the woods, and lots of green space. One night we dined at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, a tavern George Washington often visited. This is where we had the muffins, and all of us enjoyed them immensely. After we came home, I hunted down a recipe and found it online somewhere (the tavern used to hand out the recipe to diners). I do this a lot when we travel – enjoy something and come home to learn how to make it myself.
I have tweaked the recipe a bit over the years and it remains a family favorite, perfect for fall, and for Thanksgiving! Serve with honey butter.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes/yams (about one yam)
1/2 cup skim milk
optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray 12 regular size muffin tins with cooking spray (I use silicone tins). Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs, yam, and milk and mix completely. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and spices and mix until completely combined. If using pecans, stir them in. Divide among muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 4 tablespoons butter in a food processor. You can also use maple syrup instead of honey.