This is a knock off of my pumpkin spice muffins but this time, instead of extra pumpkin (Mr. Mittens is doing great — thanks for asking), I had extra carrots, courtesy of my Mom. Not those crappy “baby carrots” which are no such thing, but really good, super sweet organic full-sized carrots that needed to be cooked. I’m not a fan of shredded carrot salad and I just made some vegetable soup, so muffins seemed like the way to go.
This is just slightly more effort than the other muffin because you have to steam the carrots first and then puree them. I used my blender but most people will have a food processor. It’s a nifty way to get the wet ingredients really well incorporated with the sugar because, as you know, you never want to beat a muffin batter once the dry ingredients go in. That way lies a tough muffin.
Again — can’t say enough good stuff about my new Chicago Metallic no-stick muffin tin. Wish they had a Facebook page so I could beg for freebies! For the record, nobody I blog about has ever given me anything, but I live in hope!
3/4 cup of pureed carrots (about 4 or 5 large carrots plus water)
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1/3 cup neutral oil (like vegetable oil — anything that doesn’t taste strong)
1 cup of the darkest brown sugar you can find
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (includes cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice — you can add them individually instead), plus 1/2 teaspoon more of cinnamon
Cinnamon and sugar blend for the tops or decorative sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tablespoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 400.
Scrub your carrots and cut off the ends. I didn’t peel them because the skin is good for you and I am lazy — and once they are blended, who will know? Cut the carrots into small logs and steam with a few ounces of water. I used my microwave and a big Pyrex bowl for this — cooking the carrots and water about 5 minutes total.
Once the carrots are soft, add to the blender (or food processor) with the water from steaming them and the orange juice. Blend till smooth.
(Remember to zest your oranges before you juice them. It’s easier that way.)
Measure the glop. Once you have 1 cup of the mixture, add the brown sugar and blend again. Add the oil and blend. Transfer to a big mixing bowl and add vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
Sift together the spices and dry ingredients. Mix a small amount of flour into your chopped nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet with a big wire whisk, being careful not to over mix. Add zest and nuts last.
Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 and sprinkle tops with garish colored sugar, if desired. (NOTE: If you aren’t using a no-stick muffin tins like mine, use muffin papers or oil and flour your muffin tin.)
Bake 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean from the center of the center muffin.
Yields a dozen perfect muffins.
Did the orange decorative sugar from Target gild the lily? That’s a matter of taste. These muffins are the exact amount of crunchy I like a muffin to be though, and they will be even better tomorrow I bet.