Saturday, September 17, 2011

autumn carrot and apple muffins

This recipe is adapted from one given to me many years ago by a long lost acquaintance from college. As usual, I immediately sought to improve its nutritional profile by reducing the sugar and oil and replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat flour. I also added nutmeg, walnuts and vanilla with the idea of lending a "carrot cake" flavor to the muffins.

In the end, you'd never guess that these rich and flavorful muffins are actually quite wholesome. Their relatively low sugar content allows the natural sweetness of freshly harvested carrots and apples to shine.
In keeping with the carrot cake theme, they're delicious toasted and spread with a little cream cheese instead of butter, but they're also moist enough to be enjoyed unadorned.

Carrot Apple Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and grated apple, preferably a good baking apple, such as Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Gala or Granny Smith
2 cups peeled and grated carrot

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place paper liners in muffin cups.

In large bowl mix flours, baking soda, spices, raisins, walnuts and salt.

In another bowl whisk egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Add grated apple and carrot and stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently stir until just mixed (do not over-mix).

For large muffins, fill cups until brimming over the tops (muffins do not rise much as they bake); otherwise fill cups until level with the tops.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in pan and remove.

Makes 10 large or 12 smaller muffins

Note: Be sure to fill empty muffin cups with water before placing pan in oven; this prevents damage to the pan by overheating.


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