I like to try and bake healthy desserts... sometimes.
Usually I consider desserts an indulgence and not something I would group into the health foods category. Trying to rationalize my way into believing 1 cup of vegetable oil and ¾ cup of sugar is good for my body, just feels silly after a little while. This is why (sometimes) I like to try and make an attempt at baking healthy things. My dad is a great source of inspiration in this venue. After having a heart attack several years ago, he has transformed versions of his favorite fat-laden dishes into heart healthy alternatives.
These carrot cake muffins are a healthy option to one of my favorite desserts. There is no cream cheese frosting but these muffins are packed full of nutrients with whole wheat flour, carrots, and raisins. The sugar and oil are kept to a minimum in this recipe and the muffins are just sweet enough, unlike most cloying carrot cakes.
Carrot Cake Muffins
Adapted from the New York Times
2 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
1 ⅓ cups low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup golden raisins
1 ½ cups grated carrots
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil or butter muffin tins.
Sift together the whole-wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Using a whisk or a spatula, stir in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Do not beat; a few lumps are fine, but make sure there is no flour at the bottom of the bowl. Fold in the raisins and the carrots.
Spoon into muffin cups, filling them to just below the top (about ⅘ full). For mini muffins bake 10-11 minutes until lightly browned and well risen. For regular muffins bake 25 minutes.
Heather's Helpful Hints
Toss raisins with a small amount of flour before adding them to the batter to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of muffin tins while baking.