Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carrot-Apple Muffins

Raise your hand if you're in a breakfast rut.  Anybody?  Well, I sure am.  How many bowls of the same cereal can one person eat?  My boys get to occasionally mix it up with a frozen waffle here and there (I know, terrible, but at least they're from Trader Joe's), but I'm not a fan.  Pancakes are great on the weekend, but all that pouring and flipping takes forever.  Last week I decided I needed a change.  Thus, the carrot-apple muffin was born.
California farmers must be dealing with a bumper crop of carrots this year, because my CSA box has had big bunches of carrots in it for the past several weeks.  They are fantastic carrots, but like the zucchini I was dealing with a few weeks ago, there's only so much you can do with them.  Today I pickled the bunch I got in my box yesterday- a spicy, garlicky delight and my first ever pickle of any sort.
Instead of cutting up the previous bunch for carrot sticks, which is my default choice, I decided that I would try to preserve the life of all these carrots by making something I could freeze and pull out whenever I wanted something new and different for breakfast. I immediately decided on muffins.  But I've been making a lot of sweets lately, so my instinct was to figure out a way to  make my muffins taste great with less fat and sugar. My waistline was begging my to try.  Though I've never done it before, I've read about brownies using applesauce for years as a substitute for the sugar and/or oil, so I decided to give it a try.  The muffins came out nicely sweet, but not overly so, and very moist.   Plus I threw in a bit of whole wheat flour to up the good-for-you factor.  I found a winner of a muffin that sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor and is super easy to make.  My husband and two year-old loved them so much they were gone in a matter of hours!

Carrot-Apple Muffins
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs vanilla
4 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup applesauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a standard-size muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with muffin papers.  This recipe makes 12 standard muffins or 36 mini-muffins.  These are perfect for my toddler, so I made the mini ones.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and applesauce.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Stir in the carrots.  Spoon into muffin pans so that each cup is about 2/3 full.  Bake standard muffins for 25-30 minutes and mini muffins for 13-15 minutes.  Cool muffins on a rack.  At this point you can eat them greedily or pop them in a freezer bag and save the muffins for the next time you're in a breakfast rut.

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