I got it in my head the other week to try a new muffin recipe…and partly because the muffin category of our baking section here at Full Fork is a little underserved. That’s not to say I didn’t do my homework, and merely chose the first recipe I found. Oh no! No, no, no, I assure you all I looked for way too long at various carrot cake muffin recipes. Really, I probably spend way too much time on looking at recipes, but it really can’t be helped. I have a problem!
That being said, once I settled on a recipe to try, I had to change it. Of course, right? I’ve been slowly trying to find ways to cut some fat and other undesirables (tasty though they may be) from my diet. Occasionally. A little. Let’s not get too crazy, though, a gal’s gotta ease into this kind of thing. And next week I might just go all out again and make a cake or something, but this week, it was about lightening things up. Just a bit.
So this was my substitution – fat-free Greek style yogurt instead of the vegetable oil originally called for, plus I added a little two percent milk when I saw the mixture could use a little moisture. Granted, the original recipe didn’t call for a whole lot of oil but sometimes I don’t care for the oily texture muffins made with the stuff can sometimes have. Out with the oil, in with the yogurt and milk.
The surprisingly torturous part of the recipe was three cups of grated carrots. Honestly, in hindsight? The recipe would be just fine with two and a half cups of grated carrots, so if your hand is feeling like it wants to toss the grater into the trash at that point, you have my blessing to stop. I lost track of how many carrots I grated, but I want to say it was at least five or six. The recipe could possibly yield a muffin or two or so less, but three. cups. of grated. CARROTS. Maybe it was my carpal tunnel acting up, but this felt wrong down to every metacarpal and phalange I possess. If you have one of those inserts for grating with your food processor, lug it out, by all means.
I can’t really explain it, but I kind of love making a well in the center of the dry ingredients for the wet ingredients. Then mixing them all up. As with most things of this baking nature, try not to over mix as the muffins may become a little tough while baking.
Confession: I think I over-mixed. Know what that means – must make again!
The directions stated that the muffin cup interiors should be sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, but I utterly failed to do this. It would be a good idea for you to do this as, for whatever reason, these fellas seemed to stick to the baking cups a lot more than other muffins I’ve made. Maybe it was that no oil thing. The next day they were a little easier to peel away, though.
Hey look! For once I didn’t overfill the baking cups and give all my muffins those muffin love handles. Small victories, fellow bakers. Take ’em and run.
As far as adapting this recipe to make it a little less fattening goes – it was, honestly, not too shabby, but also not phenomenal. The texture isn’t what you’d get with oil or butter, most likely, as it was a little more spongey than I was expecting. Muffins or cake made with oil tend to have a little softer consistency. I do think they could use a little more flavor, so next time I might bump the spices up a little, and that’s reflected in the ingredients below. Originally I used a teaspoon and a half of pumpkin pie spice, next time I’ll make it a full two teaspoons. And make sure my spices are not out-of-date. Whoops, forgot to check that. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use equal parts of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice instead. Or more of one than the others, whatever suits you. The flavors did improve a little the next day.
Know what you can do with your low-fat muffins? Yeah, put some butter on them while they’re warm so that it melts into the muffin and makes it all buttery and stuff. If you’re wanting to defeat the purpose of the muffins and all. Hey, I did in fact defeat their purpose and had a little butter on my sample. No shame. You could also drizzle a little honey on them, slather them with chocolate spread, hazelnut spread, OR you could be a total angel and just enjoy them the way they are. Do whatever you please!
Carrot Cake Muffins
from Southern Living, April 2011 via MyRecipes.com
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: about 20 minutes Level: Easy Makes: about 15-18 muffins
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
- 1/4 cup low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- splash of milk (about 1/8 cup, enough to moisten the batter)
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350°. Place about 15 paper baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt well in a large bowl with a whisk; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pineapple, yogurt, milk, whole eggs, egg whites and vanilla; add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in carrots, pecans, and raisins. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling about two-thirds full.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (be sure to check them a few minutes prior just in case they are done quicker). Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I added a little milk to the batter when it seemed the batter was way too dry prior to adding in the carrots. It was more like a biscuit dough consistency and I worried the muffins would be very dry. The splash of milk seemed to help, but it’s probably best added to the pineapple mixture as opposed to after, to avoid over-mixing the batter.
Again, I don’t think the recipe really needs three cups of grated carrots, but it’s also possible if some of that is left out, it may change the volume and amount of muffins you get. Not sure!