February 3, 2009

Carrot Raisin Walnut Muffins

I've been making a lot of soups lately, partially because it's so cold and partially because it's so easy.  Most simple soups start out the same way: with onions, celery, carrots and maybe some garlic all chopped up and softened with some olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.  Then comes the broth (or even water) and the rest of ingredients.  Boil it until it reduces to your liking and ta-da! Great tasting homemade soup. But I digress.

So it was my new soup making craze that led my eye to some rather good looking carrots in the grocery store a few days ago.  Normally, I never give carrots a second look but this soup kick along with their particularly vibrant orange color and suspiciously symmetrical shape caused me to plop them right into my cart.  And that's when it hit me: Carrot Muffins! I love Carrot Cake, so Carrot Muffins sounded just right.  My desire was further confirmed when I was reading Kath's blog and she pictured a lovely Carrot Raisin Walnut Muffin her husband had brought home from work- Carrot Raisin Walnut, now that sounded perfect.

Since I wanted to make muffins, not cupcakes, I knew I also wanted them to be healthy and I had the perfect recipe in mind.  I have been craving  the flavors from that cinnamon-y Zucchini Bread I made over winter break since I got back.  So, I decided to adapt that recipe to fit the extra ingredients I wanted to incorporate into these muffins.  

And they came out perfectly.  They are a moister muffin without the crumbly topping that some people see as essential to a good muffin, but I am not some people.  In fact, I don't mind at all because they lack nothing in flavor or texture.  The moistness is actually very pleasant especially with the textural interest of the raisins and walnuts.  The spiciness of the cinnamon complements the subtle vegetal sweetness of the carrots while the walnuts add crunch and the plumped raisins provide an unexpected complexity, as well as an added burst of syrupy sweetness.

Carrot Raisin Walnut Muffins
makes about 18 muffins


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce [I think plain yogurt would also work nicely]
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray 18 muffin tins with oil (you could also butter them or use cupcake liners).  Sift first 9 ingredients into a medium bowl.  Stir in the carrots until they are well coated with the dry mixture.  Beat sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla to blend in large bowl.  Add dry ingredients and combine well.

Transfer batter to prepared muffin tins. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way.  Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool muffins in pan for about 10 minutes and then remove using a thin knife if needed.  Place onto racks and cool completely. 


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Lynna said...

Thank you! That's very nice of you to say. Hope you'll keep reading :)

hester said...

ooh! these look and sound good. I was actually reading KERF and then decided to google "carrot raisin walnut muffins" (since I'm not talented enough to come up with a recipe myself). Your blog came up, and I'm really glad it did!

I do have a question though. Are these muffins on the sweeter side? Would it be okay to reduce the sugar to let's say 3/4 cup, or would that make them inedible?

Lynna said...

Hi Hester,

So glad you stumbled upon my blog, too! I haven't made these muffins in a while but I would say you could probably reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup. You could probably also use all whole wheat pastry flour- I've had a lot of success with it.

My cooking style has evolved a bit since I made these muffins (I'm trying to use natural sugars and more whole ingredients). Check out my revised recipe for pumpkin bread (http://amourpetitgateau.blogspot.com/2009/12/pumpkin-bread-back-and-better-than-ever.html). I think it could give you some ideas for healthier modifications. I used lite coconut milk, ww pastry flour, raw sugar, and agave nectar and it was great!

Let me know how the muffins turn out!