Along with the the leaves turning yellow and the arrival of Autumn comes the last of the summer's garden harvest. I don't have a garden myself, but my Dad has always kept a large garden. He seems to have forgotten that us kids have moved out and he doesn't need to can and freeze and stockpile so much food for the winter anymore. He is generous and goes through all the trouble of gardening each summer, just to give away most of it to friends and family. I was the lucky recipient of a big bag of garden carrots (as well as a bunch of other produce). I love the taste of fresh garden carrots...they have a delicious earthy sweetness that carrots bought in the store just don't have.
As I neared the bottom of my bag and was wishing I had more garden carrots, a friend was given two big bags of fresh carrots that she couldn't eat all of. So I got MORE carrots. Believe me I did not complain.
I started to wonder what I could do with all these delicious carrots, when I came across a recipe for Carrot Muffins. I decided to make a big batch the other night and have been enjoying them each morning for breakfast with my coffee. Mmm...perfect coffee companion. Or they would be lovely with a classic Earl Grey tea.
Recipe adapted from Bakerama @ Allrecipes
Makes 12 muffins
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or ground ginger)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Cream Cheese Icing: (Optional)
1/2 cup low fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
Beat together the eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix in the oil, applesauce, ginger and vanilla. Fold in grated carrots. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix flour mixture into the carrot mixture until evenly moist. Fold in 1/2 cup walnuts. Scoop muffin mixture into the prepared muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
While muffins are baking, in separate bowl beat butter and cream cheese. Gradually add the icing sugar until everything is mixed.
When the muffins come out of the oven, cool completely on wire racks before topping with the icing. For added decoration, you can make a cinnamon-sugar mixture and sprinkle over the top or sprinkle with extra nuts.
Click here for printable version of Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing
These muffins are so moist and delicious! I tried to make them as healthy as possible by cutting out half the oil and adding applesauce (which worked great by the way). They are even heavenly without the cream cheese icing.
Update: I make these muffins every couple of weeks and they are some of my absolute favorites. They are full of flavor and spice and are incredibly moist. Enjoy these with your morning coffee and you won't be sorry you did.