Good Friday afternoon…
We had only just enjoyed a lovely, yet light, lunch. While Ben and I were left mentally sated, physically we were not fuelled up enough to power through an afternoon of study (for Ben who is studying for his final CFA exam) and unpacking, following our recent move. Question: for how long can I call our move “recent” and thus feel no qualms about our home’s decided state of disorder?
Regardless of your answer to this question, one thing was for sure – we needed extra sustenance. And so I created these muffins. A recipe that is wholesome, with a touch of Easter festivity from the addition of carrots – the Easter Bunny eats carrots, you see – therein lies my logic.
I surveyed a few recipes for inspiration but none of them were quite how I pictured my muffins. And so I ventured into the kitchen, past the debri of boxes and bubble wrap, to create a recipe based on the flavours I enjoy, hoping they would turn out. And they did.
These muffins are moist and wholesome. The sweetness, which is subtle, comes from the dark agave nectar (a fabulous, low GI sweetener from the agave plant), light muscovado sugar, sultanas and carrots. If you omit the sultanas I fear these muffins may be a little bland, so look to add in an extra tablespoon of sugar. I find that olive oil lends a lovely flavour to baked goods, but be sure to use light olive oil. I used extra virgin in my batch (as I had no light olive oil and the shops were closed) and the flavour was a little too pronounced. Finally, I included almond meal in the recipe, as I adore both the flavour and the texture it provides baked goods.
When I came to naming these muffins I was at a loss. Naturally I felt that carrot was a noteworthy ingredient, as it gives the muffins a delightful orange tinge and is a somewhat unusual ingredient in baked goods. But where to go from there? Out of sultanas, agave, almond meal, olive oil and walnuts, which was the second most noteworthy ingredient? I decided that I could, in fact, not decide…and so I simply collated the remaining ingredients – “spiked with goodness”. Because these muffins really are.
Carrot Muffins Spiked with Goodness
makes six medium muffins
¾ cup Wholemeal Plain Flour
1 cup Almond Meal
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tablespoon Light Muscovado Sugar (or Brown Sugar)
2 pinches of Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (you could 1/2 a teaspoon more if you really like your spice)
½ teaspoon ground Ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
1/3 cup Low-Fat Milk
1/3 cup Light Olive Oil
¼ cup Dark Agave Nectar (you could use light agave, but the flavour won’t be as intensely sweet. You could substitute with Maple syrup, however again, the flavour will be slightly different)
1 ½ cups (~220g) grated Carrot – you’ll need ~2 carrots, depending on their size. Don’t grate them at the start, grate them fresh when instructed in the method. Use good quality carrots, I find that organic ones tend to be sweeter.
¼ cup Sultanas
¼ cup Walnut pieces (really, I think you could add 1/3 cup for extra crunch)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease your muffin tray holes (I use spray olive oil but you could use margarine or butter).
Sift the flour, almond meal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a large bowl. Add the salt and spices and stir to combine.
In a separate, smaller bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and agave.
On a chopping board, grate the carrot.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently until just combined (don’t overmix). Add in the grated carrot, sultanas and walnuts, and give a final stir to incorporate the mixture.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin holes, filling it 2/3rds the way up and gently smoothing the surface. Pop the tray into the preheated oven and bake for ~20 minutes (they may take a few minutes longer depending on your oven and depending on the size of your muffin tray). They are cooked when a skewer inserted into the middle (more towards the bottom) comes out clean. Be sure not to overcook them – you want your muffins to be moist!
Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool further.
On Good Friday, I let our muffins cool for only a few minutes before we enjoyed them outside in our courtyard with a cup of English Breakfast tea. They would also be lovely with a tall glass of cold milk.
I have wrapped the other 4 muffins in glad wrap and frozen them for work-day snacks. They will be lovely at room temperature, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be searching for a microwave to warm mine up a little before eating. I like my baked goods warm. They taste more like love that way 🙂