Break-fast. Yup. I am taking that word literally for this recipe….Just kidding…This carrot muffin recipe has been adapted and tweaked in order for these baked treats to be considered a healthy. Now I don’t know about you…but I am usually in a hurry in the mornings. Most days I’ve got to get to the hospital by 7am so that doesn’t leave too much time for getting creative in the morning. Therefore I prefer to create healthy muffins from time to time. I make them the night before and have them ready for the rest of the week. They also make great snacks or desserts.
Inspired by today’s post on flours & sugars…here are some baking suggestions:
1) Skip the white sugar and flour. 2) Skip the extra butter or oil used for “greasing” as the word suggests – use liners as an alternative and save some calories (you’ll also save some time when cleaning). 3) Never skip spices! These add flavor without fat 4) Banana is a great substitute for egg in most baking recipes – it adds moisture plus it adds sweetness. 4) Avoid using butter (I know this sounds sad, but your hips will thank you later) – use sunflower, grapeseed or vegetable oil. For a low fat option use apple sauce or pumpkin puree instead of the butter but this will alter the flaky consistency of the muffin. 5) Raisins and dates are simple ingredients that add moisture to healthy baked goods (which tend to be drier) 6) Nuts are flavorful but will make your muffins drier and spike up the calories – use them wisely and consciously (I added mine as a garnish in the frosting) 7) Try to avoid frostings – I know even saying that word sounds fun but…they add fat and (usually) processed sugars into your baked goods. Moreover this last step is important if you are trying to loose weight. But if you are in a stable and healthy weight, and are conscious about your daily food intake…go ahead and make the frosting.. I did. But use substitutes as I did. I highly recommend the frosting but if you wish to skip it I suggest adding a bit of honey or agave into the muffin mixture to add a bit of additional sweetness…that is if you’ve got a sweet tooth like I do…or maybe it’s just the stress and my PMS combined..but I really liked the frosting. It contrasts perfectly with the muffins.
Yield: 1 dozen (12 regular sized muffins)
Nutritional analysis: 164 calories per muffin. low in saturated fat, high in manganese and vitamin A.
12 Cupcake liners
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup instant oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 large egg, * if you want to skip the egg, use an egg substitute or add an extra small mashed banana
1/3 cup skim milk, or any other non-dairy milk of choice
2 cups of shredded carrots ~ 3 to 4 med carrots
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
optional garnish: sliced almonds on top or my “Healthier Frosting Alternative” (for more information browse through step 6)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cupcake liners in the baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins.
3. In another bowl mix the wet ingredients starting with the egg (this way if it’s bad you won’t ruin the remaining ingredients): oil, milk, carrots, and banana and stir until blended. Incorporate the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Blend until smooth.
4. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter of by using a mini ice cream scoop. If using the scoop – first fill the 12 cupcake liners, then divide the remaining batter among the muffins. Optional – add some sliced almonds for garnish.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean: 20 to 25 minutes.
6. While the muffins bake feel free to make my “Healthier Frosting Alternative”:
1/3 cup of Earth Balance spread – at room temperature
1/3 cup of almonds – grinded
1 tbsp of reduced fat cream cheese
1 tbsp of ground flax seed
1 packet of Stevia
1/2 c to 1 c of powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer – grind the flax & almonds first. Add all the remaining ingredients except the powdered sugar. Grind until smooth. Incorporate the powdered sugar starting with 1/2 cup. If the consistency is not as desired or the frosting is still too salty for your taste, incorporate 1/4 cup more of sugar or until acquiring the desired sweetness.
**DISCLAIMER: Remember frostings are usually high in fat content, this is no exception. However, I made some healthier modifications to substitute the excessive amount of powdered sugar most frosting recipes have. My substitutes include nuts, flax and stevia sweetener. Additionally instead of using traditional butter I opted for the Earth Balance vegan “buttery” spread. So, in the end this is a better alternative. Additionally these muffins are very low in calories so this frosting not only adds sweetness, but more fiber and sources of healthy fat.
So feel free to add a dollop of frosting to each muffin and enjoy. Sprinkle with some extra cinnamon on top.
BTW this is the first time I make a frosting with the Earth Balance Spread and let me tell you I am pleasantly surprised. It tastes just like butter and works wonders with the frosting since it’s very creamy…However I did have trouble adding sweetness to it…Any suggestions? I would really like to avoid using regular powdered sugar….