spicy carrot oatmeal muffins


On a misson for healthy substitutes (though giving in to an actual craving every now and then is good for all of us--not long after this post, had a carrot cake cupcake and it was d to the vine. I will not apologize for that), I was wondering how I could make a simple but delicious version of carrot cake, without actually giving in and making a whole cake. Cream cheese frosting and all. But I will, soon. Right after I make this: ahhhh.

So for these health nuggets (that's right, I said it), that are better for breakfast and inspired by Kitchen Treaty, you will need:

2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of multigrain oatmeal (plus 1 tablespoon for topping)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cinnamon applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups carrots, grated (Please oh please grate these yourself. That pre-shredded stuff is dried out GARBAGE. Final.)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins

Whew. That's a lot of stuff.
If your kitchen looks something like this mid-making, full speed ahead: you're on the right track.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. You can either grease your muffin tins or use yellow-orange cupcake liners to commemorate the carrot color, as I did. But either is fine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in your four spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger) and whisk to combine.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg (pre-beaten) and vanilla extract. This is a crazy bowl of madness, but it all works out in the end.

Add your wet ingredients to your dry, folding together with a rubber spatula. Add your carrots, walnuts and raisins and stir in evenly. Distribute your batter into your muffin tins (will make about 18-20 small-sized muffins) and sprinkle the tops with your remaining oatmeal flakes.

Bake for about 24 minutes. (Kitchen Treaty originally suggested 20, though I found the toothpick-method still had these guys a bit runny in the centers. Check them frequently, adjusting time as necessary. All ovens are different, of course, especially if you live in a building that's been around since the 50's.)

These were just what I was looking for: simply sweet and lots of spice while the raisin and walnuts added just enough to make me believe I was eating cake. Next time: cream cheese frosting and I'm sold.