Sweet Potato Ginger Muffins with Salted Caramel Sauce

UPDATE: Watch me make the muffins on local CBS affiliate WFMY-2

It's cold today. The best way I know how to warm up is to either eat lots of food and sink under the covers to take a nap OR bake something to make the whole apartment warm and toasty.

I'm in a wedding in March, so the whole "eat a lot of food" thing won't really fly right now.

While I'm at it, I'll tell you about my new job. I started yesterday and I like it. We make biscuits (YESSSss, I get to make my boyfriends every day!), galettes, scones, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, frittatas, brownies and a bunch of other stuff. Can I tell you how good it feels to be doing something I love? I don't think I'm going to mind waking up at 3:30 a.m. a few times a week.

Today, I made some scones, and as I was patting them out, scraping up bits with the bench scraper... I felt this calm wash over me. It was like something was telling me I was supposed to be there at that moment, pressing down on that dough, folding in those cinnamon chips, covered in flour...pondering the thoughts that I was thinking. The same thing happened as I was cutting out the biscuits.

The goodness doesn't stop at home. How about some Sweet Potato-Ginger Muffins with Salted Caramel Sauce?

Sweet Potato-Ginger Muffins with Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes 12

1 3/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 cup mashed baked sweet potato, cooled
1/2 cup nonfat/fat-free milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cardamom.

In another bowl, mix together sweet potato, milk, eggs, oil, and orange extract, until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in crystallized ginger.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove muffin pans to wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups; finish cooling on rack.

Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Pour sugar and water into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Don't stir. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or heat-safe rubber spatula. It will go from caramel to burnt sugar very quickly. Stand back to avoid splattering, and slowly add the cream and the kosher salt. Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.

I baked these a little too long :( (I was busy trying to catch up on my blog reading) They weren't tough, but definitely a tad bit crispy around the edges. The caramel came out perfectly. I want to pour it on my cereal, spread it on crackers, lick it off the counter. This stuff has made my day. And I'm not sharing.

I think I'm getting remnants on my keyboard right now.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. Oh my gosh, that looks so yummy. Especially since I'm starving right now! And I'm so glad the new job is going so well! yay!

  2. Yum. I want your job. No, scratch that. I just want access to your job so I can get some of that stuff.

  3. Andrea: I'm starving, too. I cannot live on muffins alone lol I hope to have some left to share at work later today!! No caramel though. I ate it all.

    Rachel: You make me smile. If I didn't think everything would mold before it got to you, I'd send ya some.

  4. Those muffins look totally awesome! I am so glad that you are enjoying your new job! I am telling you cooking is my best therapy! :)

  5. Salted caramel is what I imagine fills the heaven equivalent of hell's lake of fire and brimstone. I LOOOOOOOOVE it. Ginger, however, might be at fault for the holocaust.

    I start volunteering at a bakery next week, one day a week. I'm really nervous to be responsible for things coming together consistently. At home, Chris has to pretend he likes everything I make, or I will stop feeding him entirely and he'll have to go back to his primal, bachelor roots of eating Chipotle and ONLY Chipotle for one really large meal a day. Sunflower seeds for the rest.

    When I met him, he didn't even have a trashcan in his kitchen. I'm in no way joking. He just stored his kitchen trash in (again, not kidding) various Chipotle bags on the counters. And this man is a DOCTOR. It was terrifying. But then when I made him buy a trashcan and he complied with a beautiful SimpleHuman, I knew he was mine....muhahahahaha!

  6. there is something so calming about baking especially when its going right. Yum those muffins would hit the spot anyday

  7. Congrats on the new gig. All I can say is, "Oh damn". It's like who's gonna break through to the big time first, you or Darius.

  8. OMG - that looks amazing I might have to attempt to make that even though I'm sure it won't be anywhere as good as if you made it for me!

  9. jenn: And this is the best therapy I could ever ask for. When I worked in restaurants before, I felt bad, mad, and sad. Not anymore!

    My new homegirl: Academic and professional intelligence have absolutely jackshit to do with social or domestic (household) intelligence. LOL@ sunflower seeds. That'll show him.

    kat: I hope to make many more batches of these

    managerial person: I don't know, dude...we'll see. And you'll be able to say "I knew her when..."

    tamara: They'd be better. You wouldn't over cook yours!

  10. Ohjeezez, this is your new job?
    You rock. Good goin'.

  11. Im so glad you have found your groove. Do what you love and the money/success will follow.And these muffins just show your creative juices working.

  12. CC: Oh, I made these at home, but yeah...this is the type of stuff I make at work.

    Courtney: That's what they keep telling me. I guess I haven't worked long enough to see the $$ yet. I am honestly say that every day doing what I love is a success.

  13. Salted caramel sauce sounds yum. Sweet potato and ginger muffins sounds intresting combo. Looks yum and nice.

  14. That's so awesome you love your new job that much already. You're right about feeling like you belong somewhere, and I'm glad you may have found your calling. That food sure gets lucky too, because a person can tell when food is made with love :)

  15. kitchen flavours: Thank you! Perhaps one of these is in your future?? Hmmm???

    adam: I think my calling is to be on TV, doing this stuff. I need to spread my love to the masses.

  16. Looking good...one day I'm gonna submit to my fears and bake a cake...I really am. One of these days...no time soon though.

  17. Oh man, those flavors sound unbelievable, I bet they are delicious.

    Cold out? I could only wish...we are still in the 90s.

    Where is your new job? I wish I could get paid to bake!

  18. Great muffins Nikki. So perfect for the upcoming Fall weather. I love cookies, cupcakes and muffins. Great job.

  19. I love that you're a baker now. It's somehow so fitting my mental image of you, smelling like sugar and your apron covered in flour. :)

  20. With the terrible weather we are having, these look so tempting. I have book marked them to try really soon- MWAH! Thank you

  21. D: it is Sooo not scary. I'll help you through it and everything. For your party this weekend, you should make one.

    Aggie: it was just rainy and about 65 degrees. That's cold compared to the 187 degree weather I feel like we've been having. My new job is at an independent coffee shop in my town.

    Teresa: Thanks! I have more muffins and cakes up my sleeve!

    Heather: My mental image of you, is of someone who'd beat me up if I weren't careful LOL
    But the flour on my apron (jeans, shoes, headscarf) is about right!

    Rose: Oh yay! Tell me how they turn out! Make sure you don't bake them too long, like me! :)

  22. Congrats on the new job. I go to that same zen place when cooking- it's really addictive, and tastes much better than meditating.

  23. Hi Nik! Congrats on being featured on Leftover Queen's Finest Foodies list! Your blog is great!!

  24. Hola Nikki! I'm new here and coming from FFF at the Leftover Queen! I love the colours of your blog... actually, I love green :D.

    I can't believe you wake up at 3:30Am... I couldn't do that!!!!
    Fantastic muffins :D

  25. I found you over at FFF at Leftover Queen today. From just my first glance, I'm LOVING your blog! Those muffins look delicious!

  26. Hey! Really? I'm on FFF?! Wow! Thanks for stopping by guys!

  27. First time visiting your blog - Salted caramel sauce? OMG! I think I need some of these muffins - like, now!!!

  28. peter: thanks :) I think I'd look better if I meditated more than I cooked!

    aggie: Thanks, my friend! I'm so honored. I think I'm practically glowing.

    nuria: Hola, amiga. Me gusta verde tambien. El idea de cocinar despiertame cada dia.

    Oh, I hope all of that is correct. I used to be fluent in Spanish. But when you don't use it...you lose it.

    patsyk: Welcome! Thank you! Thanks for stopping by! I'll check yours out real soon! :)

    toni: And a big welcome to you, too. Yeah, that sauce is unbelievable. It's all buttery, rich, sweet, AND salty. I couldn't keep my fingers out of it.

  29. Those muffins are screaming out my name to come and make them! The ingredients are so many of my favorite things. And the salted caramel sauce? That just puts it over the top. I'm definitely, without a doubt, going to make these this fall.

  30. Those are some mean muffins! Gotta bookmark this recipe to tweak gluten-free.


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