Foodiva's Kitchen: Muffin Monday - Carrot Spice Muffins

Monday, September 26, 2011

Muffin Monday - Carrot Spice Muffins

I am so busy doing nothing... that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.
~ Jerry Seinfeld

I've always had a weakness for moist carrot cake, packed to the brim with grated carrots, nuts and dried fruits and topped with the most decadent cream cheese frosting. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to making this week's Muffin Monday recipe, Carrot Spice Muffins. Our host, Anuradha of Baker Street blog specified that this was to be a healthy muffin, so I reluctantly tossed out the evil frosting idea and ended up with a healthier topping instead.

But first, I made several tweaks to the original recipe - virgin coconut oil in place of butter, vegetable oil or applesauce; soft dried figs instead of raisins, and walnuts as my choice of nuts. I also added plenty of orange zest to complement the carrot and complex spice flavors (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice!). I'm not sure if it was due to the whole wheat flour used, but my batter still seemed a little dry so to rectify this, I added another egg and that gave me the consistency I wanted. I suppose a dash of milk would also work if you're reluctant to add on the extra egg.

For the topping, I decided to boil thin slivers of carrots in a syrup made from freshly squeezed orange juice and brown sugar. The carrot slivers were soft on the outside but still retained some crunchiness on the inside. Once the muffins came out of the oven, I doused them with the orange syrup and topped each muffin with a teaspoonful of carrot slivers. By the time I took a bite out of one of these muffins, I'd long forgotten all about the cream cheese frosting....I mean, who really needed it? This healthy topping was so delicious in its own right!

If you think the convergence of carrots, orange, spices, coconut, yoghurt, vanilla, figs and walnuts seem like an overwhelming amount of flavors packed into just one little muffin cup, then you have every reason to think that. But let me tell you that these flavors managed to blend into one another in all the right manner (there is a Baking God!) that they actually resulted in scrumptious and perfectly textured muffins! Thanks Anuradha, for another week of healthy baking....I can't wait to check out the other carrot muffins over at Baker Street.

We had another busy weekend due to it being a long holiday weekend over here. The whole nation was granted an extra day off for Teacher's Day, specially to honor those rare breed of individuals who have taken upon themselves the task of knocking some sense into the rest of us. A very big thank you, teachers!

Note: Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week. 

Carrot Spice Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/8 teaspoon allspice
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup yogurt
• 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
• 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Orange-Carrot Topping
Juice of one orange
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (I used a mandoline)
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients- flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice.
3. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients - brown sugar, egg, yogurt, coconut oil, vanilla and the carrots, figs and walnuts.
4. Gently fold in wet and dry ingredients together until just moistened.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
6. While the muffins are baking, boil the carrots in the orange juice and brown sugar mixture and let it simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the carrots are softened. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, prick the tops all over with a toothpick and spoon about 1 teaspoon of hot orange juice on each muffin. Top with a teaspoonful of soft boiled carrots. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Stay At Home Chef said...

Love your topping...must have tasted fantastic! Unlike you I totally caved to the cream cheese. Couldn't help myself ;)

Baker Street said...

Gorgeous! Just Gorgeous! Love your topping!

Foodiva said...

Aimee@Stay at home chef, I so totally liked what you did with the cream cheese! You used it as a filling rather than topping, hmm...if only I thought to hide my cream cheese that way ;-).

Foodiva said...

An@Baker Street, thanks for dropping by and for hosting. I really stuck to your 'healthy' theme this time, but I can't guarantee I'm going to stick to it next time. I'm dying to do something quite decadent and makes you feel guilty just LOOKING at it! LOL.

Katherine Martinelli said...

These look great! I love carrot cake and muffins so can't wait to give these a try. I love all the photos from your family celebrations as well, so nice!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely family pics:) Hoipe everyone enjoyed fanatstic looking nmuffins;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a version of the carrot spice muffins. Lots of powerful flavours work afterall.

Beautiful photos of your family and friends.


Linda Harding said...

Good grief, but those photos have me salivating! What a delicious recipe, and with such fabulous variations! Delicious!

Vicki Bensinger said...

These sound marvelous and I love your topping. I've been on a kick for a week to use up my blueberries and have made muffins and coffee cake. I use yogurt as well as applesauce in mine and always end up with incredibly moist muffins. Yours definitely sound like fall.

By the way I make the best carrot cake I've ever had in my life. Wish you were here in the states and I'd make it formyou. Haven't broken down to share the recipe quite yet.

Foodiva said...

Katherine, I love both carrot cake and muffins too but I just realized that this was the first time I actually made carrot muffins. Try this recipe, the muffins are really super-scrumptious!

Foodiva said...

Dzoli, thanks so much, we hope everyone did have a fab time...well, I certainly did anyway!

Tina said...

The flavors in this wonderful muffin have me craving this for breakfast! Your creative method for topping these makes them even better. Yum!

Foodiva said...

Sliceofmylyfe, the flavors were rocking up those muffins! Thanks or your well wishes too :-).

Foodiva said...

Linda, who knew muffins can be so enticing? These ones really were as delicious as they looked!

Foodiva said...

Vicki, you leave the best comments. Now it looks like we have two options here, I either wait for you to break down and share that best ever carrot cake recipe, or...... I have to pack up and emigrate to the States!

Foodiva said...

Tina, I had two for breakfast this morning and they were fab! Not too sweet, still very moist and packs a crunch from the carrot topping :-).

The Poet Herself said...

That topping sounds phenomenal! YUM! Beautiful photos of the wedding ceremony, too. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Anonymous said...

How pretty! The shreds of carrot just add a great touch!

Foodiva said...

@ThePoetHerself, thank you. The topping was decided in a moment of inspired madness! LOL. Can't believe my cousin's now a married seemed like just yesterday that she was a toddler and teenager. I suddenly feel so OLD :'-(.

Foodiva said...

Yummychunklet, the carrot slivers seemed to brighten up the muffins and they tasted fab too!

Anncoo said...

Sooo pretty! Wish I can have a bite :)

Rosita Vargas said...

Linda versión me encantan los pasteles húmedos,lucen muy exquisitos y bellos,un placer que hayas estado en Santigo,tu pais es muy bello,hugs.

Ei said...

If I had to pick only one dessert to eat for the rest of my life, it would be carrot cake. With barely sweet cream cheese frosting. mmmm.

Your cousin looks beautiful!

Aimée @ Food: Je t'Aimée said...

Oh WOW. These are stunning! What a beautiful idea to add the figs, and then such a creative, flavourful topping...

Looks like you had a fun weekend! Happy Monday and nice to bake with you again this week :)

WanderGirl said...

Wow, your muffins look so beautiful! I've yet to try figs, but with a muffin like yours, I bet they'll be pretty tasty!

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Oh these are gorgeous....
The shredded carrots add so much color and fun as topping.
Love it...

P.S Maya I really like your blog dear and I want to pass on this award to you.
You can have it here
I hope you"ll enjoy it.

Ashley@Bakerbynature said...

Yum! I love love love carrot spice muffins, and yours look great!

Magic of Spice said...

I love the creative :) Congratulations to your cousin and your festivities look so fun :)

Stefanie said...

Your topping looks amazing! So creative and such a wonderful idea!! The muffins look delicious, too :)

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Great substitutes in the muffins and the carrot topping so elegant.

OK now i know what you meant from your emails before.....really enjoy the quietness of the week days. But I love seeing all the pics of Eid

Working london mummy said...

what a gorgeous way of presenting muffins! delicious x

Foodiva said...

Reem, thanks so much for the Award! I'm beyond honored that you think I deserved it. Much <3!

Caroline said...

Ooh, candied carrots and oranges sounds delicious with these muffins and figs also fits perfectly. They're all great additions, Maya.

I like your pictures over the weekend. Best wishes to your lil' cousin. :)

Spicie Foodie said...

Haha, love the quote:) These muffins sound like the perfect amount of spices and strong flavors to me. Your idea of adding the carrots on top is just genius! I keep thinking about them but also with frosting then the carrots on top. Oh that wouldn't be healthy but sounds good no? Hehe:)
So that's what you mean by "Open House" I'm such an idiot I thought you meant like an open house when a house goes up for sale in the state. LOL. Your open house looks like a lot of fun, look at all that yummy food! Congrats to your cousin. And good luck with the beach weddings for your children, hehe:)

Norm said...

Just catching up in blogworld after my parents' visit - love this post! The muffins look luscious, and your Open House was fabulous (no, not scary at all!!). Your family were lovely (as of course I knew they would be!)

See you soon I hope,

Kate xxx

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