Carrot Cake Muffins
We've all had the bunch of carrots in the back of the veggie drawer with no plans. Or the 5lbs of carrots that arrives in the grocery order, when you only asked for 5 total. Or picked out a gorgeous bunch at the market, to have your kids change their minds mid-week, and refuse to touch them.
My kids will eat a whole carrot that’s been peeled, won’t touch baby carrots unless it’s been chopped up to matchsticks, they love steamed soft carrots, but they will not go near a carrot that’s been put into a stir-fry or soup. Kids are fun. Fresh produce is expensive.
They will, however, devour carrots baked into muffins!
They know there’s carrots in them, I positioned these as “Carrot Cake Muffins”, and that’s what sold them. Normally I'll sneak veggies (like zucchini or pumpkin), into baked treats and they're none the wiser.
We made these muffins on a snowy Saturday morning. My kids are 4 and 6 and love to help in the kitchen. Here are some tips if you decide use this as an activity, too:
If your kiddos are able to peel - have them peel the carrots over a bowl or with a box grater, and chop them into smaller pieces (about 1cm long). I’ve had most success having them do this while sitting on the floor with lots of newspaper, spare cookie sheet, or a drop cloth underneath. I highly recommend making an area on the carrot about an inch away from fingers to let them know where to stop- so you don’t grate fingers- and you will need to supervise them like a hawk if they haven’t fully mastered this yet. I started having them whisk “low and slow” the dry ingredients together when they were about 2 and practice to spoon and level the flour when they were a bit older. Usually they’re either seated on the counter or on a stool so they can reach, but they started by sitting on the floor. Every child and kitchen is different, please use your own discretion. And if you’d prefer to have them watch something in another room so you can make these in peace, that’s very cool too.
*I recommend making 2 batches of these- they go pretty quick and they freeze very well. If you are freezing, thaw overnight in the fridge and pop in the microwave or toaster oven for about 20 seconds. YUM!
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (note below if you don't have any handy)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
(Double batch - 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or at least 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ginger, cloves/ allspice, 1t sp cardamom powder, ¼ lemon zest)
Combine all these together in a bowl with a whisk- set aside
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup maple syrup (honey or regular sugar is fine, too)
1/2 cup milk (oat, cow, almond - go nuts)
2tbsp melted coconut oil (or avocado/ other oil)
Sprinkles of turbinado or thicker, crunchy sugar to top
(Double batch - 4 eggs, 1tbsp and 1 tsp vanilla, ⅔ cup applesauce, ⅔ cup maple syrup, 1 cup milk, 4 tbsp oil)
1 1/2 cup carrots (about 3 large), shredded)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup each golden and purple raisins or cranberries
1- Preheat your oven to 425, grease and set aside muffin tins
2- Chop up your carrots in a processor or by hand into a small bowl- cover with a wet kitchen towel or cloth, and set aside. This is to keep the carrots from drying out and getting stuck together.
3- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside
4- Whisk together the eggs, and rest of the wet ingredients in a large bowl
5- Combine in the wet with the dry until well mixed.
6- Fold in shredded carrots, raisins, nuts, etc
7. Pour into muffin tins until ¾ full
8. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the toothpick comes back clean.
9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes at least before serving.
If you’re saving them for a bit or for postpartum, I recommend doubling-up your airtight container so they don’t get freezer burn. Pull whatever you plan to eat out for an overnight defrost and zap in the microwave or toaster oven for 10-30 seconds to warm up. They make a great addition to lunches, a quick on-the-go grab breakfast for when you’re running late, and I love these for a pre or post-workout snack.
* if made with whole milk, walnuts, and golden raisins
Carbs : 24g
*** I have made these both gluten and dairy-free. I recommend using a 1-1 substitute0 mix for gluten-free flour and use 1 and 3/4 cups of it. You won't need to add/ modify any ingredients or instructions. Enjoy!
Did you make these? Share in the comments below!