I'm so blessed to have a sister in law that I truly adore. Not only is she a great friend she is also a certified pastry chef (talk about amazing). I find myself yearning for her ability to bake without measuring and create such delicious items from scratch. Her creativity and intelligence are too good not to share so I've created "Sara's Sweet Corner" to feature baked goods that Sara creates. I hope you enjoy her dishes and writing as much as I do.
March is rough on the imagination. As the sun begins to peek out from 6 months of Seattle cloud oppression, I can't help dreaming. Peaches! Raspberries! Rhubarb! Juicy, ripe morsels just waiting to be baked into slumps, tarts, and cobblers. Sadly, when I go to open my CSA box, all I see are more carrots, apples and potatoes. I think the box contents can sense my impatience.
This week I decided to treat my produce to a farewell celebration. Instead of being roasted in olive oil yet again, these carrots cried out for a last hurrah. Inspired by my husband's love of carrot cake, I tried my hand at a healthier, breakfast version. Most carrot cakes get their moist texture from a lot of oil, and their sweetness from sugar. These muffins use applesauce in place of oil, and I cut down on the sugar with the addition of pineapple. (The carrots didn't mind taking a quick vacation to the tropics).
You can use any blend of flour with this recipe. Personally, I like a half/half mix of King Arthur's White Whole Wheat and All Purpose. For a denser, "healthier tasting" muffin, use more whole grain flour. For a lighter, fluffier muffin, All Purpose is the way to go. If you're feeling a little bit naughty, these would be delicious with a smear of cream cheese frosting. Or just plain cream cheese. As is, they are a perfect way to start the day. The last bite of winter while we await the splendors of spring.
*One of my guinea pigs wanted me to mention that they were so good, he didn't realize when he took a big bite of wrapper. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Muffins
yield: 18 small muffins, 12 large muffins
- 1/2 cup diced pineapple (canned pineapple is fine, just drain the juice)
- 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce (homemade or store bought)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or a mix of the two
- 3 extra large eggs
- 1 TB. extra flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper liners, spray lightly with cooking spray or butter.
1). Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2). Using a Kitchen Aid or a hand held mixer, beat eggs, sugar and applesauce until pale yellow and creamy.
3). Mix vanilla into egg mixture.
4). Add flour mixture to eggs, being careful not to over mix. I mix this by hand.
5). Sprinkle extra tablespoon of flour over pineapple and carrots, coat evenly.
6). Add carrots and pineapple to batter, stir to incorporate.
7). Fill lined muffins tins with batter. I fill the tins completely; for smaller muffins, fill 3/4 of the way.
8). Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.