“I need to stop eating muffins” muffins

As I’ve mentioned before, I never used to be a sweets person, “used to” being the operative phrase.

This has changed recently, for a number of reasons.  One is that at my job we have breakfast provided every morning. It’s a great concept in abstract, except when you consider the options: Monday is bagel day, and while I love bagels I really don’t need to be eating them every week. But you try resisting a bagel when it’s staring you in the face on a Monday. Resistance is futile.

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Tuesday is cereal day, also great in theory except they don’t have non-dairy milk so I have to bring my own and hope someone doesn’t steal it. Wednesday is yogurt, so I’m just out of luck there. Thursday is oatmeal, and Friday…Friday is muffin day.

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Which brings me to the subject of this post: muffins. I never used to be a muffin person. Not only did they not interest me in the least, but I actually found the whole concept kind of off-putting. They just weren’t my thing. Then I had a muffin on muffin Friday and a kind of light went off in my brain and I realized: muffins are just cake that you have for breakfast, and because they have fruit in them they’re good for you.

IMG_6348From then on, I was hooked. Now when I wake up in the morning instead of my brain being all about eggs, it’s like, “Hey Callie! You know what would be great right now? A muffin!”

But I’ve started to feel guilty about all this muffin–and sweets in general–consumption. They don’t call it a muffin top for nothing, right? So I went on a hunt for a healthier muffin, and I found these carrot muffins from Minimalist Baker.

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They definitely fall into the category of “without foods” – you know the type: without gluten, without dairy, definitely vegan, possibly paleo.

Except these muffins taste great! They’re moist, slightly sweet, full of things that are good for you and lacking in the things that aren’t. They have oats to give them some heft, and applesauce to make them about more than just carrots. These muffins are going to be my new breakfast go-to, and you should do the same.

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“I need to stop eating muffins” muffins a.k.a gluten-free, vegan carrot muffins
(Slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker)

1.5 flax eggs (or 1 real egg if you’re not vegan, like me)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana (I accidentally used a whole banana and was fine)
1/4 cup agave nectar, maple syrup (I used), or honey if not vegan*
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot**
2/3 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal***
1 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten free flour blend
Optional: 1/4 cup raw walnuts (chopped) for topping

Preheat oven to to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin or paper liners (I greased my liners because I was afraid of sticking but you may not need to).

Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl if using, otherwise beat a real egg.

Add mashed banana, agave or maple syrup, and olive oil and whisk to combine. Then add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine.

Add almond milk and stir. Add grated carrot and stir. Add oats, almond meal, gluten free flour blend, and stir. Divide among muffin cups, filling them up to the top and topping with crushed walnuts if desired.

Minimalist Baker suggests baking for 32-36 minutes. I cooked mine in two batches in 6-cup muffin tins; the first batch took 22 minutes and the second took 18. This could have been because I was only used a half muffin tin, so I suggest checking yours after 20 minutes and adjusting the cooking time based on that. They should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted.

Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes, then place on cooling rack (or plates stacked on bowls for us folks without cooling racks!)

Store in a covered container or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 4 days, then freeze.

*: I did think they could be sweeter, so next time I might use a 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
**: I bought shredded carrots. You should save yourself the time and trouble and do that too.
***: Almond meal is twice the price of gluten-free flour! Yikes! So I used all gluten-free flour and just upped it to 1 1/2 cups.

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“Cooling rack” system

Update: Two days later, I cut into a muffin and found it to be green! Yes, there were flecks of green throughout my muffin. My first thought was mold, but then Google told me that it has to do with either having too much baking soda, or having the baking soda not be evenly distributed–the change in pH causes the carrots to turn green. Perfectly fine to eat if not the most attractive…bottom line if your muffins too turn green, don’t be afraid!

Healthy Carrot Muffins: http://minimalistbaker.com/one-bowl-carrot-apple-muffins-vegan-gf/

 

 

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