Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Muffin Mania

Steph, of ::steph chows::, has been on a major muffin kick of late and she's starting to rub off on me. I'm a regular reader so she's got me in a muffin kind of mood. I also happen to be in a cake kind of mood. Combine the two and what do you get?

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
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degree F.

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
Combine the cream cheese, vanilla and agave nectar in a small bowl and stir well to incorporate. Add the toasted coconut flakes and, again, stir well to combine. Serve as topping for the carrot cake muffins. Enjoy!

*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' ...

Bon appetit!


stephchows said...

Yeahhhh!! the muffin kick is rubbing off on people!! Wicked fun! And these sound delicious to boot :) Yeah... I may have another muffin recipe coming tomorrow... LOL!

Anonymous said...

The citrus flavor is the best part! So. good. But of course there's nothing like good, sweet cream cheese to top of anything.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Steph - I'm glad it rubbed off on me too ... these were so delicious. Thanks for providing the impulse!

Duo - you're right, the citrus is a really nice addition ... and you can't go wrong with frosting! ;)

The Wino said...

Everyone is baking! I wish I didn't feel like I was living in an oven, these sound wonderfull! I will have to save this for cooler weather!

pixelgal said...

Here's another very important hint for those of you who like to shop at Trader Joe's. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER never buy their own brand of 'light' cream cheese. It's totally disgusting with a sweet flavor and mysterious tofu-like texture. You are forewarmed! Meantime, the muffins look great.

Heavenly Housewife said...

What an awesome flavor combination! I love the idea of coconut cream cheese with a carrot and spice base. Hold on one sec while I pack my bags, I'm coming over :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Wino - we're all baking because its still freezing here in the Northeast! I understand that's about to change tomorrow though ... so by next week I'll be complaining about the heat! LOL

Pixelgal - how weird about the TJ's cream cheese. I always go for the Philly 1/3 less fat. Its delicious!

HH - come on over! I'll even heat the muffins back up for you! :)

The combination really was fantastic - like a semi-healthy version of carrot cake. Of course, if one was feeling especially virtuous, one could always skip the cream cheese ... but how sad that would be!

doggybloggy said...

coconut cream cheese - I'll take a big spoon of just that.....

Anonymous said...

I'm on a muffin kick too! corn muffins from Whole Foods, to be exact! I would love to try this recipe, too!

Anonymous said...

These sound sooo good - with spiced carrot cake flavor and the coconut cream cheese topping - yum! I'm seriously about to join the muffin mania; muffins sound perfect for this coming Sunday morning.

The Diva on a Diet said...

doggybloggy - good choice, it was mighty tasty.

burp and slurp - oooh, I love, love corn muffins!

5 Star - yay, more muffin mania! Can't wait to see what you whip up! :)

Marta said...

Oh wow, these look delicious! The tang from the cream cheese makes this recipe work so well
I love your blog, very witty :)

Christie's Corner said...

The icing did me in. Cream cheese AND coconut?! You could put that on saw dust and I'd eat it. I'm sure the muffins are wonderful, but I just know I'd end up eating all the icing straight from the bowl. I've no discipline when it comes to such matters.

Tangled Noodle said...

I was nearly convinced that this would be a healthy post (after all, we're talking carrots) but then you had to go and add coconut cream cheese! I can't stay made: these look and sound too delicious!

Deb said...

LOL Diva who knew the ordinary grater could be such a dangerous tool in the wrong hands!