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Monday, February 14, 2011

Carrot Spice Muffins

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Being that it's Valentines Day and everything, I thought I'd share a little story about Ryan today. A few weeks ago I checked out Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours at the local library. I was practically giddy with excitement as I began to flip through the pages. This book is a baker's bible, if you will. I now understand the hype over Dorie and her cookbooks; nearly every picture had me drooling!

Knowing I'd never be able to decide which recipe to make sure, I asked Ryan to take a look and select a few treats. He took his assignment seriously, grabbing a piece of paper and ripping off little pieces to bookmark the selected pages. When he finished, I excitedly grabbed the book to see what he chose. I couldn't wait to see which fudgy brownies and decadent cakes he too was eager to try!

...I should've known better.

Every recipe he bookmarked, with the exception of ONE, in Dorie's huge book contained either a fruit or a vegetable, sometimes more than one. Granted, they were still primarily desserts and had plenty of sugar and butter to accompany the healthier ingredients. But really, Ryan? In a giant book full of enticing desserts, you aim for the healthiest-sounding ones?!

This little argument carried on for a few days. I mocked him for his choices and he tried to defend himself. (For the record, I'm all for fruits and vegetables in desserts and baked goods...I just couldn't believe he didn't choose ANYTHING that could be considered a more traditional dessert!) Finally, I decided to grant his wish one day and I paged through his selected recipes, ultimately deciding to make the Carrot Spice Muffins.

Why oh why did I fight him on it? These might be the best muffins I have ever made. Everything about them was absolutely perfect. Though I made them primarily for Ryan, I had a hard time staying away. I'm too embarrassed to tell you just how many passed my lips in the first few hours after I made these. The recipe said it yielded 12 regular-sized muffins, but I filled my cups pretty high and ended up getting 12 + 8 mini-muffins. The miniature ones were just as good--fluffy, moist, and with a hint of cinnamon to accompany the carrots, coconut, raisins, and nuts.

You were right, Ryan, you were right. I suppose I'll make you a few other "healthy" treats from Dorie's book... :)

Carrot Spice Muffins
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tbsp baking powder
-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
-2/3 cup vegetable oil
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup skim milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup shredded carrots
-1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
-1/3 cup raisins
-1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients (flours through brown sugar), making sure there are no lumps.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and gently whisk or stir together. Do NOT overmix.
4. Stir in carrots, coconut, raisins, and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups.
5. Bake for 20 minutes (for large muffins) or 12-14 minutes (for mini muffins). Allow muffin pan to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes before removing muffins.