I’ve said it before that I’m not that big into baking. I think one of the issues I have with it, aside from the fear of having to follow a recipe exactly, is the fact that I’ll have an entire pie in front of me calling my name every time I walk into the kitchen. Or an entire container of cookies begging to be devoured. Or 24 cupcakes starring at me for days. And now that I’m not working in an office, I can’t bring the leftover baked goods to share with co-workers, I’d have the sweet treats all to myself. Which, for some, might sound heavenly, but I know myself and I know I’d be tempted to “taste” whatever it is every 10 minutes until I had frosting smeared all over my face and I’d be joining Sues wearing elastic waistband sweats.
So while I was at my gym, where I recently started working a handful of hours a week, I got to talking to Nancy Clark, the internationally known sports nutritionist and author who runs her private practice out of Healthworks at Chestnut Hill. Somehow the topic of We are not Martha came up and Nancy so kindly signed and gave me a copy of her book, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. I do enjoy a free book especially when it’s loaded with recipes and the kindest woman I’ve met in a while gives it to me. Nancy flagged a bunch of recipes for me to try out so I’m going to slowly work my way through to share with you all. One of the baking recipes she flagged was for a banana bread but my bananas haven’t ripened enough so I decided to try another recipe out first for Carrot Cake Muffins (original recipe adapted from Evelyn Triobole RD). Now, I’m no health nut and know very little about nutrition but these just sounded delicious. And with simple substitutions they seemed like the perfect guilt-free muffin.
Here’s what you need (makes 12):
• 1 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 cup white flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 3 eggs (or substitute 6 egg whites)
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1/3 cup oil, preferably canola
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups finely shredded carrots
• 1 medium apple, peeled and shredded
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts (which I omitted due to allergy)
For a fat-free option you can replace the canola oil with 1/3 cup of applesauce and use 6 egg whites instead of the 3 whole eggs. I originally thought I wanted the fat-free option but 1/2 way through I decided I didn’t… obviously. So excuse the applesauce in the photo above. I ended up using canola oil and 3 whole eggs
Nutrition Information: 230 calories per muffin; 37 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 7 g fat
Here’s what you do:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 12 muffin tins with papers or cooking spray.
• In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
• In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, followed by the carrots, apple, raisins, and nuts if you’re using them. Add the flour to the mixture and stir until just blended.
• Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon), fill the muffin cups with the batter. The recipe said to bake for about 30 minutes, I set the timer for 25 just to take a peek and they happened to be ready to come out then.
Not only am I not really into baking but I’m not real big into eating baked goods either. Although I do frequent the cupcakes. Call me a freak if you’d like, but I haaaate that “it feels like I have a rock in my stomach” feeling and it seems like a lot of baked goods just “sit” in my stomach. These muffins were perfecto. The perfect density, the perfect amount of sweet, the perfect amount of chewy from the raisins, and the perfect amount of crunch from the carrots and apple. What more can you ask for in a muffin? Besides a little slab of melted butter added on, of course This muffin really had it going on.
I also realized while making these that my biggest “fear” with baking is that I’ll mess up since everything has to be exact. I once had the same fear with cooking, back in the day, but my mom always used to say… “You’re going to mess up sometimes… just keep trying” and I think that’s the attitude I need to bring into baking. Know that not every recipe is going to be perfect and know that the only way you can learn is if you do mess up. However, let’s just get this out there… I did not mess these muffins up. They are a keeper.
Also, I highly recommend you purchase Nancy’s book if you’re at all interested in the whys and the hows of food and nutrition. I, in no way at all, consider myself to be an athlete anymore, but this book is loaded with tips, tricks, and facts from everything about BMI to the secrets for light and fluffy quick breads that are bound to help everyone.
What’s your favorite breakfast muffin? Because I’m pretty sure these are mine