Carrot Cake Muffins

Hello, spring! I know I might be a little late to the game on this one, but carrots are still in season, and there’s no time like the present to enjoy them.

I’m always a little hesitant to test a new baking recipe, because my husband is brutally honest about grain-free baked goods. I know that baking can be a sort of alchemy: you can measure and weigh everything perfectly, calibrate your oven, and time it exactly, but the final results can mystify you. As I learn new techniques with grain-free baking, I find that “practice, practice, practice” has been the most helpful for me. Paying careful attention to your ingredients, especially the quality, can influence the final results. For example, there is a huge difference between two types of honeys that I use: Big Island Bees Ohia Lehua Blossom Honey, and Big Island Bees Wilelaiki Honey. If you click on those links, you can immediately see that the viscosity, color, and opacity are completely different on each of those honeys. I can tell you that the flavor is completely different as well: the Ohia Lehua honey is lightly sweet, with a wonderful crystalline texture; while the Wilelaiki honey is more caramel in flavor, with a smooth, syrupy texture. Each honey will bake differently, and impart a different flavor to the final product, so think about what types of ingredients you may use and how they will complement the final product.

And so, for these carrot cake muffins, I knew a deeper, more robust honey would complement the flavor, so I used the Pumpkin honey from Old Blue Raw Honey. I highly recommend both Old Blue and Big Island Bees for their wonderful selection of varietal honeys!

And so, on to the recipe. These muffins are low in sugar, plus they include vegetables, so you can definitely feel good about eating them…the frosting, however, is up to you! Some would say that a cream cheese frosting is necessary, but if you are not consuming dairy, I think coconut cream works just as well. Feel free to add walnuts, raisins, or toasted pecans to the batter for some extra texture!

Carrot Cake Muffins

It’s seasonal, full of vegetables, and a great idea for breakfast or dessert! The frosting is made with coconut cream for those of you avoided dairy, but can easily be swapped with a dairy frosting for those of you who enjoy it! Just swap the coconut cream concentrate for cream cheese, and swap coconut milk for whole milk, and you should be good!

Yields: 1 dozen muffins

  • For the muffins:
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded organic carrots
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cups raw honey
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 1/5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream concentrate
  • 4 tablespoons light colored raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • The tiniest sprinkle of sea salt and the tiniest splash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners, or grease the tin with coconut oil, butter, or shortening.

Place the dates in a bowl and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of warm water over them. Soften in microwave on half power for about a minute.

Make sure the shredded carrots are dry, and if they are moist, pat them dry with paper towels and set aside.

Place the dates, eggs, and honey in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and process again for 30 seconds.

Place the dried carrots in the processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend, or blend by hand if you want to keep the structural integrity of the carrots more intact.

Divide batter evenly among each muffin cup, making sure you do not fill more than 2/3 of each cup. Bake for 28-31 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, decide if you'd like frosting, and then decide yes. Place all of the frosting ingredients in a stand mixer and blend on low until combined, or use a hand mixer and a slip-proof bowl and blend on low until just combined. Add more coconut cream concentrate if it looks thin, and add more coconut milk if it seems thick, and feel free to add a little more honey to your taste. The frosting will solidify once stored in the refrigerator.

Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before adding any frosting.

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 28 minutes
  • Total time: 48 minutes

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Ursa Miner Launch Party

Hello all! I’m excited to announce that I have hosted my first catering event: a board game launch party for the new game “Ursa Miner.” The event was a huge success and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I did not get photos of all of the courses, but thankfully Mike Batista, one of the game designers, snapped a couple of shots for me!

On the left: honey and red wine broccoli with butternut squash, coconut crusted chicken, and honey barbecue beef meatballs. On the right: honey vanilla cupcakes.

So the game’s setting involves bears seeking honey, so I used that as a creative launching point for the menu theme. I wanted to use a “signature ingredient,” like the TV show Iron Chef so I chose honey! For the appetizers, I made garlic salt kale chips and a raw vegetable platter with carrots, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and a coconut honey dill dip. For the main course, I had honey peach barbecue beef meatballs, coconut encrusted chicken tenderloins with honey mustard, and a red wine vinegar and honey-drenched broccoli and butternut squash hash. And for dessert: honey vanilla cupcakes, and cinnamon honey shortbread cookies. Almost every last morsel of food was gone at the end of the night!

The guests playing the game.

Here is a link to the game’s Kickstarter page for more information: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1875412263/ursa-miner-bears-mining-honey/posts/1882184?ref=backer_project_update

I’m currently writing up the recipes for everything I made that night, so stay tuned for those! I did a quick survey, and the kale chips and the barbecue meatballs were definitely the most mentioned dishes, however, the desserts disappeared the quickest! I think people definitely enjoyed themselves and had fun playing the board game. Check my Facebook page for more coverage and updates!

-Anne

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