Desserts,  Product Reviews

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

I’ve been watching what I eat since February 2012. That’s when I started my weight loss journey to lose the extra bulk I’d put on since my divorce. I’ve lost over 55 lbs, but would still like to lose another 10 to 15 lbs. I’m almost there and that’s what keeps me motivated to continue. One thing I did was drastically cut the sugar I eat.  I’ve been loosely following the Suzanne Somers diet and she recommends cutting processed sugar completely from your diet. She states sugar makes you fat and I’m proof it does! I noticed benefits almost right away by changing the way I eat.

I have the odd treat here and there, but for the most part, I’ve been really dedicated. However, I do miss sweets! Now though when I have them, I can only handle a little bit at a time. I guess because I’m just not used to it anymore. I’ve been hearing a lot about Xyla, a natural sugar alternative that looks and tastes like sugar. Xyla is 100% natural xylitol that is made exclusively in North America from hardwood trees. It may look and taste like sugar and can be used in baking, but that is where the similarities stop. Xyla is the only form of sugar that is anti-microbial. This means that it does not promote and feed dangerous bacteria.

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins - These remind me a little of pumpkin spice muffins! Delish!

Health Benefits

Some of the health benefits of Xyla include:

  • Alkaline enhancing and anti-aging properties
  • Prevents osteoporosis and reverses bone loss
  • Prevents middle ear infections
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Maintains hormonal balance, reduces hot flashes and symptoms of PMS and depression
  • It is an antioxidant – studies indicate it helps prevent types of cancer by preventing growth of harmful bacteria
  • Slows steady release of energy for physical activity
  • Inhibits harmful yeast including Candida Albicans
  • Increases absorption of B vitamins and calcium

I know when I eat too much sugar, I’m prone to yeast infections- ugh!! That also makes me not to want to indulge in too many sweets!

Dental Benefits

Xyla also has benefits for oral health. Remember mom saying don’t eat too much sugar or you’ll rot your teeth? As a mom, I’ve always got that at the back of my head with my kids. These benefits include:

  • Inhibits plaque and dental cavities up to 80%
  • Retards demineralization of tooth enamel
  • Re-mineralization of tooth enamel
  • Increase saliva production and protects saliva proteins
  • Reduces infections in the mouth and nasopharynx

Diabetic Benefits

Xyla is also a natural insulin stabilizer and is 7 on the glycemic index. Sugar falls at 68. Neither John nor I have have diabetes, but we have family members who have it. My grandfather and John’s dad suffered from Type 2 Diabetes when they were alive. Both lost limbs due to diabetes so we know how serious a disease it is.

Baking with Xyla

I cut sugar out of my coffee in 2004 after my daughter was born and never went back. John, on the other hand, still takes three sugars in his coffee. For the last week, I’ve been substituting packets of Xyla instead of his usual sugar dose, and he never even batted an eye. I was expecting him to say something because if he notices anything different, he will say something. However, he never made a peep and drank his coffee none the wiser!

We tried Xylitol Mints and Candy in a variety of flavours. Though they were all tasty, the raspberry flavour was especially a hit! They are addicting and so good! If you have a craving for sweets, just pop a couple of them in your mouth. There was no aftertaste and just pure sweetness. I keep a tin with me in my purse.

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins - These remind me a little of pumpkin spice muffins! Delish!

I tasted Xyla on it’s own and found it tasted almost the same as sugar. The only way I could tell the difference is the Xyla granules just a little bit bigger than the refined sugar we have.

I wanted to try it in some baking. I was curious to see how they would taste and if there would be a weird aftertaste or worse…no taste at all. I made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins using Xyla. Gwyneth uses xylitol in her new cookbook, It’s All Good!

Her recipe is gluten-free. I don’t have any gluten-free flour so I just used my regular flour. I was surprised how delicious they turned out. They were spicy and sweet and reminded me a little of pumpkin spice muffins. The girls thought they were delicious and took them to school in their lunches.

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins - These remind me a little of pumpkin spice muffins! Delish!

If you are looking for a sugar replacement, give Xyla a try! You can purchase it in a 1lb. bag for $7.99, 2 lb. canister for $14.99, box of 100 sachets for $8.99. Plus there’s Xyla gum, mints, candy, chocolate, lollipops, jam and various condiments. Buy it online, Whole Foods (Xyla mints), London Drugs, Bulk Barn; Choices Market or check for a store near you.

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins - These remind me a little of pumpkin spice muffins! Delish!

Yield: 12

Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins

These remind me a little of pumpkin spice muffins! Delish!


  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or Xylitol, plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (if flour doesn’t include xanthan gum, add 1 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a paring knife or a fork. Bake until soft (when a paring knife can cut through with zero resistance), about 1 hour. Set the sweet potato aside until it’s completely cool.
  2. Peel the sweet potato, discard the skin and mash the flesh in a mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup or Xylitol and vanilla into the sweet potato. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  3. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Brush the tops with the extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  5. Let the muffins cool before serving.

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

more by Stacie »