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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avocado pumpkin cookies

Avocado Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I love autumn. It’s in my name.

My maiden name is “Herbst,” which as you may know, is the German word for “autumn.” So when this time of year rolls around, I can’t resist trying out new autumn recipes. I particularly love pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash, acorn squash, apples of all varieties, and pears… all those good things!

above_pumpkincookies

So I noticed today that I had a very ripe avocado, some leftover apple butter, and a half of a can of pumpkin puree. I thought I could maybe pull some cookies together out of that, and I was very pleased with the result!

avocado pumpkin cookies

I really like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, so I may have added more than some people would deem necessary…so I would recommend tasting the batter to make sure it isn’t overpowering for you! Yes, there are raw egg yolks in here, so if you don’t feel comfortable trying it, then have faith in my heavy-handiness in spices.

avocado pumpkin cookies

As always, this recipe can easily be molded around what fall favorites you have in your kitchen: apple or pumpkin butter; almond or any other nut/seed butter, and if you don’t have a ripe avocado on hand, then I think 1/3 cup of unsalted butter or palm shortening would work too. The measurements might be slightly off, but as you are pureeing in your food processor, you can check the texture to see if it needs more oil (the texture should resemble a smooth, thick applesauce).

 

Avocado Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This is a sort of “kitchen sink” cookie I made with leftover avocado, pumpkin puree, and apple butter. It actually turned out quite nice with a smooth texture, and an almost molten center. It has a very autumnal flavor profile with cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin, and the avocado is a healthy fat that adds smooth texture and does not interfere with the flavor!

Yields: Approximately 12-18 cookies

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple or pumpkin butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seed butter
  • just under 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut avocado and spoon flesh into a food processor. Add egg, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, and apple or pumpkin butter. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary. Then add the baking soda, salt, spices, and pumpkin seed butter (you can substitute almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter) and puree again. After the puree is smooth, sift in the coconut flour and puree quickly. Once all ingredients are incorporated, use a cookie dough scoop or spoon to drop cookies onto the parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake for 13 - 16 minutes, depending on your oven. I switched racks halfway through, at about 7 or 8 minutes. Cookies will be a dark brown, almost chocolate-like color and will start to crackle when ready. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then dig in!

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 16 minutes
  • Total time: 31 minutes