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!
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
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.