Carrot Currant Carrot Cake Muffins

Confession: I dread being asked what my favorite food is.  I clam up, nervously searching my brain, hoping that my indecision will lift its grip on me for just long enough to come up with an acceptable answer:

“Ummmm…”

“Oh come on, you must have a favorite!?”

“Uhhhhh…”

“Really?”

“Vegetables.”

“Ha. Ha. That’s a food group.  Seriously though, what’s your fav…”

At this point I’m usually wide-eyed and biting my lip.  I don’t know.  I just don’t.  That’s like trying to make me pick a favorite NKOTB [oh Joey...] or a favorite body part [my right foot!].  Ok those were bad examples, but I could never pick a favorite food or even a favorite recipe.  It just feels wrong.  I love food.  All food.  Any food that isn’t an olive.

Ask me what my favorite dessert is.

“Carrot cake!!!”

Boom!  Didn’t even stutter.

I can even tell you what exact type of carrot cake is my most favoritest.  Publix.  Hands down.  Done deal.  I’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I have the chance.  Oh and I did have the chance.  One word:  Pregnancy.  Spending the last month of my preggo plague in Pensacola, Florida meant there was a giant bar of carrot cake in my hotel mini fridge at all times.  It really did make a fantastic breakfast.  Adding coffee and a banana makes just about any food a breakfast food in my book!

Carrot Currant -[Carrot Cake!]- Muffins
warning: expect to see an excess of muffin manhandling in this photo shoot.  I couldn’t keep my hands off them!

Carrot Cake Muffins
Carrot Currant Carrot Cake Muffins
[makes 10-12 fluffy muffins]

ingredients:
1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut milk [or regular milk]
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP vinegar
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour or whole white wheat
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1  large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar [packed] plus 1 TBSP extra, to taste
1 cup shredded/grated carrots
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped baking walnuts
cinnamon sugar for topping [optional]

adapted from simple bites

For those of you slightly confused over the use of currants in this recipe, fear not!  They’re essentially the darling of the raisin family.  Smaller and more flavorful than their popular counterpart, currants are made from seedless red or black grapes while raisins are made from white grapes.  You can find them in the dried fruit aisle in many if not most grocery stores.  Different varieties exist but I always grab the Sunmaid’s Zante Currants in the orange box!  Can’t find them?  Grab a box of raisins or skip the dried fruit entirely and stir in some extra walnuts!  As for the spoonful of vinegar, it takes your milk from plain old milk to fancy schmantzy “buttermilk” and adds a wee bit of extra fluff factor to the muffins.  Game on.

Carrot Currant Muffins
prepwork: in a large mixing bowl, combine oats, milk, yogurt and vinegar in a mixing bowl, stir to coat, and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes to soften the oats [oatmeal style!] and give the vinegar a chance to work its magic.  You can also pull your egg and carrots from the fridge to reach room temperature alongside it for best results.  Out of all three  test batches, the one I set out for an hour came out the fluffiest!

get baking!

As mentioned above, combine oats, milk, yogurt, and vinegar and allow to and let sit/soak.  Next preheat the oven to 375F and grease a non-stick muffin pan by spritzing with spray oil [I use a coconut one] or butter.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.  In the bowl with the wet oat mixture, stir in egg, butter, applesauce, vanilla, brown sugar, carrots, and currants and mix with a fork until fully incorporated.  Whisk together the dry ingredients and, using a sifter or a sieve, sift the flour mixture into the carrot mixture slowly, stirring with a fork to combine.  Mix until just combined, avoiding over mixing the batter.  Lastly, fold in the walnuts.  Your final batter should be thick, sticky, and springy and your fork should almost be able to stand upright in the batter.  Pour into greased muffin tin.  For small muffins, you can divide the batter equally into 12 muffins but I prefer to fill 10 of the 12 at least 3/4 of the way full, for larger muffins with a bit of a muffin top.  For a slightly sweeter muffin, top each with an optional sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.  Set your muffin tin atop an aluminum baking sheet [optional; this helps prevent the bottoms from over browning] and bake for 12-15 minutes for 12 smaller muffins and 18-20 minutes for 10 larger muffins.  Test with a toothpick and allow to cool to room temperature before faceplanting.

Store individually wrapped in cling wrap in an airtight container for up to four days.

feeling fancy?  Drizzle with homemade cream cheese icing and top with crushed walnuts, carrot-cake style!

super simple cream cheese icing
4 TBSP cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2-1 TBSP milk or coconut milk
a teeny drop of vanilla, to taste
1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium-sized bowl, whip cream cheese with an electric hand mixer [No hand mixer?  Grab a fork and whisk away! It's a bonus arm workout!] on low to fluff.  Add half the milk and a tiny drop of vanilla, and slowly beat while spooning in the powdered sugar.
For a thicker frosting, add less liquid or extra cream cheese and powdered sugar.  For icing, slowly add extra milk until the mixture thins into a yummy glaze perfect for drizzling!  There’s no right or wrong way to make an icing so have fun and play around until you reach your idea of a perfect sweet topping!  You can even skip the vanilla and add a little lemon zest to the mix!  These fluffy muffins are fantastic all on their own, but sometimes it’s fun [and delicious!] to get a little frosty!
carrot cake muffins with cream cheese icing
Carrot Currant [Carrot Cake!] Muffins

so…how were they!?

So remember how I mentioned that these went through three glorious rounds of recipe testing?  Well, that’s around 30 muffins.  I shared 8.  That’s it.  Not one batch made it past the two day mark in my kitchen either.  I think that’s a muffin scarfing world record.  I’d easily give Joey Chestnut a run for his money if we subbed the hot dogs with these muffins.
Seriously though, they’re fantastic!  I’ll spare squeamish readers by skipping the m-word but these definitely weren’t dry! Fluffy, flavorful, and loaded with nutrients, these make carrot cake for breakfast a much more acceptable ordeal.  Leave a few plain to nibble on morning commute to work and frost a few for a guilt-free dessert!

“So what’s your favorite vegetable?”

“Uhhh….”

Comments

  1. Kim Hoeltje says

    I hate being asked my favorite food too! Ha I always end up saying something stupid like bananas? pretzels? protein bars? uhhh… Anywho…these look scrumptious! I do LOVE carrot cake. Especially the cream cheese frosting. I could eat that stuff by the spoonful :)

  2. Sara Puckett says

    OMG, making these!! Carrot cake is my all time favorite dessert! Thanks for the recipe, Ill be pinning for later use!

  3. Sarah Pie says

    My dad is a carrot cake junkie (seriously it’s a problem!) so I might have to whip him up a batch of these as a treat :) They look seriously amazing… even before you added the frosting!

  4. Sprint2theTable says

    Yes ma’am!!! Carrot cake is second only to chocolate cake in my dessert ranking. My grandmother used to make it all the time, and I still request my mom to make the recipe for my birthday. So. Good.

    These have oats in them. That means it’s a breakfast food, no? :)

  5. Julie says

    Oh, my. These look sooo good. We don’t have Publix in the god-forsaken midwest, but go there when we visit my best friend in Nashville. Their muffins and cupcakes are the best. I love that these are “fluffy”, which is what I will be if I make these and don’t put at least half of them in the freezer. Yum!

  6. says

    Hi Margaret! I think canning might curdle the cheese a bit, just judging by the ingredients used in most canned cheese-based soups. They tend to all go for processed cheeses [like velveeta and american cheese] and I suspect it’s because of the curdling issue and not just the cost. It freezes well though! I like to freeze the base of the soup minus the cheese and then when I’m reheating on the stove top, toss the cheese in. This could work for canning too actually! You can can the seasonings, milk, broth, veggies, etc.. and then when you heat up the can/jar add the cheese in before serving! Let me know if you wind up trying it out! And thanks for stopping by! xoxo

  7. Jennifer Yoder says

    Oh my gosh, Jenn, these look amazing!!! It’s snowing by me today…and the gym is closed…so instead of working out I will be making these TONIGHT! Carrot cake is my most favooooooooorite cake in the world. I haven’t decided if I’m sharing these with my husband or keeping them all to myself yet…but I’m leaning towards the latter.

  8. Shashi Charles says

    And…you had to take a bite out of the one with the largest glob of frosting AND photograph it – this leaves me with incredible foodenvy!
    excuse while I go bury my head in my unfrosted almond honey pancakes!

  9. says

    Hi Dawn! Yes! I once burned a batch trying to put it in the crock pot on high, so I’d keep it on low and maybe not let it run TOO too long so the veggies don’t soak up all the liquid [the issue I run into sometimes with lengthy slow cooker sessions] My other tip would be to grate the cheese ahead of time but leave it in the fridge until you arrive home and are ready to eat. Then add the cheese a few minutes before serving!

  10. Becky@TheSavedRunner says

    These look amazing! I love carrot cake too! I need to try this recipe. :) Oh and I have no idea what I would say if someone asked me my favorite vegetable either. :)

  11. Anne@ Inhabited Kitchen says

    Oh, those look good! I’m going to have to play with them.

    How on earth can anyone have a favorite food? When I’m stuck, I say cheese – but again, that’s really too broad, and it’s not true when what I really want is a cool cucumber salad, or warm comforting chicken soup, or…

  12. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says

    I can see why you couldn’t keep your hands off. The Hubby was just asking me for carrot cake last weekend too. I think I know what I’ll be making this weekend now. These are fabulous.
    I could never pick a favorite veggie either. You’re in good company.

  13. Lindsay says

    This soup is amazing! Thanks for the recipe, I didn’t have gouda so I substituted some mozza ands its so yummy, I will make it again because I want to try it with gouda! I also added a pinch of mustard powder.

  14. Deanna says

    I have made two versions of broccoli cheese soup. One with velveeta which was gross. The other with real cheese similar to this recipe. It turned out ok the flavor was great but the cheese melted then curdled in the soup. Any tips to avoid this so I can have a creamy soup?

  15. says

    Hey Deanna! The recipe in the post above has a ton of detailed tips for preventing grittiness and curdling without using processed cheeses. The main things I would seek out are high quality, full-fat cheeses, grate freshly, add cheese slowly at the very end on lower heat, and make sure that if you use a roux [flour and butter] to thicken that you give it time to cook and develop. If you try to rush the roux it will grit the soup up. Hope that helps! xo

  16. says

    I left some crockpot tips on the comment above but I’ll repost it here so this hopefully sends to your email! Keep the pot on low and try not let it run TOO too long so the veggies don’t soak up all the liquid [the issue I run into sometimes with lengthy slow cooker sessions] My other tip would be to grate the cheese ahead of time but leave it in the fridge until you arrive home and are ready to eat. Then add the cheese a few minutes before serving. The stovetop version relies on a roux that is hard to accomplish in a crockpot so it never comes out quite as thick and creamy but the flavor is still there! You can also prep all the ingredients ahead of time to make it a breeze to cook up on the stove top if you’re craving the thickness of a typical B+C soup — that’s usually the route I take! Hope this helps! xo

  17. Nikki says

    This recipe was DEE-licious! I think I will double the recipe next time since my four boys and hubby scarfed it up! I did add some celery but otherwise stuck to the recipe. I appreciate that this doesn’t have velveeta in it since we cannot get that here in Europe and I have been trying to eat “cleaner” since the New Year. Thanks!

  18. Kathy says

    the fact that this is even compared to Paneras soup is a sad, sad lie. It was gross.. My cheese melted well and did not curd however it was DEE-Bad. I will definitely use a different recipe next time.

  19. Holly says

    This is really tasty. Followed most of the recipe, except used all sharp cheddar. I will be making this again! Thank you!

  20. Mary says

    Just made this and ended up throwing it out. It was gross. Hubby wouldn’t even eat his. What a waste of money. Think next time I’ll just buy Panera’s soup.

  21. Jessica says

    The first time I tried this recipe out, I made it with Muenster and extra sharp cheddar. It turned out okay. I decided to give it another go, using Smoked Gouda, and this time it turned out fantastic! I actually left out the bay leaf because I didn’t have any on hand and added a little extra cayenne pepper… delicious! I also used mostly organic ingredients, which makes it even better. It was nice to find a REAL cheese recipe. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  22. Chef Jen says

    That I believe speaks to either the chicken broth you made or cheese you used. I made this recipe and it was damn good.

  23. Katri says

    Made this last month with no special trip to the store, just what I had on hand. Soooo good! I’m a lazy cook, so I went with the potato thickened route. Who has time and patience for a roux??? Lol Put 2 potatoes, broccoli, onion, garlic and chicken broth in pot, simmered. Got out my handy dandy stick blender, blended. Added 1 can evaporated milk and havarti/leftover Mexican trio mix cheese pack from tacos the day before, turned off heat. Served with crusty garlic bread. Holy cow, best broccoli cheese soup I have ever eaten! And it has been requested to be made again…. only have cheddar cheese, so we shall see how it turns out tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge