Spiced Carrot Cake Muffins with Coconut Cream Cheese:
For the muffins:
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. orange juice (fresh if possible)
- 1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest, minced
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup of grated carrots
In a large bowl, combine the flours, spices, salt and baking powder and whisk well to combine. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to coat. Reserve.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the orange juice, zest, oil, milk, honey and egg whites. Whisk very well to combine, making sure the egg whites are thoroughly incorporated. Pour over the reserved dry ingredients and stir/fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add the shredded carrots and stir gently to incorporate.
Spoon the batter into a greased, 12 cup, non-stick muffin tin in equal measure and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked throughout. (The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.) Do not over bake. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool.
As written this recipe will yield 12 muffins. If you're in the mood, you can guild the lily ...
Coconut Cream Cheese Spread:
- 1/2 cup of reduced fat cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat)
- 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
- 1 or 2 tsp. agave nectar (or to taste)*
- 3 tbsp. toasted coconut flakes
*If desired, you may substitute some powdered sugar for the agave nectar.
These muffins are not your typical sugar-laden fat-bombs to be sure. They're a leaner, meaner muffin; full of whole grain flour and absolutely cholesterol free. And that's just the way I like 'em. They're a muffin you can feel good about eating.
As such, the texture may not be what you expect. If you're looking for a more traditional cakey muffin, feel free to replace the whole wheat pastry flour with all-purpose flour and use one whole egg in place of the egg whites. They're not terribly sweet either and, again, that's my preference. I used honey this time - I love the soft sweetness it lends to the spicy, citrusy muffin.
I'll leave you with one more tip before I go ... try not to grate off the better part of your thumb nail while shredding those carrots - because that would kind of suck. Not that I would know from personal experience or anything. I'm just sayin' ...