Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins
Shortly after making this carrot cake sheet cake, all I could think about was making carrot-cake-everything! I decided to take a healthier route and do muffins instead of something rich and decadent. I’m so glad I did! These carrot cake muffins are packed full of nutritious ingredients and are bursting with shredded carrot and spices. They’re perfect for breakfast or mid-day snack, spread a little whipped cream cheese on top and they’d even pass as dessert :)
I’ve been on a muffin kick lately. I know you probably can’t tell from what I’ve been posting lately, but I promise I’ve got some more recipes coming! I love how easy to make they are and that they last for days- heck, they can even be frozen and enjoyed months later. That’s always a big plus in my book. These muffins though, I’ve made them twice now and both times they disappeared within a few days. I love them, my husband loves them and our toddler loves them. Win-win!
Now I know these aren’t crazy super healthy. That’s why I called them “healthier” not healthy. There’s still a hefty amount of brown sugar in them, but that’s just how I roll. I’m sure you could swap it out for honey or maple syrup, but I was low on both of those things so I didn’t even try. Personally, I love the flavor and moisture that comes from the brown sugar. And yes, there’s all-purpose flour. But guess what? There’s also whole wheat flour and oatmeal. The all-purpose flour serves a purpose… it gives these muffins a lighter, more structured crumb. Mmmkay?
So let’s move past those two ingredients and focus on the good stuff like the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, carrots and coconut milk (or Greek yogurt). Pretty good stuff, right? And if you can’t tell from the list above, these muffins are packed with protein (which comes from the eggs too)! I love how thick the batter is and how light and tender they turn out. They’re moist and flavorful without being dense and soggy- something that I absolutely hate, but often happens with healthier muffins, especially “morning” muffins. You know the ones I’m talking about.
Next time you’re in the mood for muffins, you’ve got to give these yummy little guys a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
- 1 c. brown sugar, packed
- ⅔ c. coconut oil, measured solid then melted
- ½ c. unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 c. carrots, finely shredded (about 3-4 large carrots)
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ c. coconut milk or coconut (or vanilla) flavored Greek yogurt
- Optional add-ins:
- ½ c. shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- ½ c. raisins
- ½ c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with 18 foil liners (do not use paper or silicone) or spray the wells with baking spray, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the brown sugar, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla extract until well combined. It's ok if the mixture gets slightly grainy, but it shouldn't be clumpy. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the shredded carrot, mixing until incorporated.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. With mixing speed on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the coconut milk or Greek yogurt, starting with the dry ingredients first. Mix until a thick batter forms, just until there are no flour pockets remaining. Be careful not to overmix.
- Using a large cookie (#20 or 3.5 tbsp.) scoop, place equal amounts of batter into each well. Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops are moist but firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe source: adapted from Little Spice Jar