Friday, February 11, 2011

Carrot Raisin Muffins

left, SLF mustard microgreens + Mark Stambler's freshly baked CSA loaves delivered to pickup by Erik Knutzen on his bicycle.

Carrots are so naturally sweet, it's hard to believe they're good for you, too. Even simply prepared steamed carrots, glazed or mashed, can taste practically like dessert. That's probably why you find carrots included in many sweet baked goods.

I particularly like carrot muffins because they are both tasty and versatile. You can serve them up hot out of the oven with breakfast or lunch; or you can spoon a little orange glaze or spread a little cream cheese frosting on top and turn them into a relatively healthy dessert.

Another thing I like about carrot muffins is that you can add raisins or dried cranberries to the batter and/or nuts such as chopped walnuts or pecans.

Many muffin recipes instruct you to use paper or foil baking cups. While they may lend an attractive professional look to your muffins, they're really just more trash for the landfill, so I recommend greasing your muffin pan well and foregoing the extra paper.

This recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Alston's cookbook, Muffins. She suggests slathering them with honey butter while still warm. Now that sounds delicious!

Carrot Raisin Muffins

For approximately 12 regular-sized muffins:

1-1/2 C flour or 1 C all purpose flour + 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1/2 C brown sugar
3/4 C milk
4 T (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 C grated carrots
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin(s).

2. Mix flour(s), baking powder, spices and salt together in a large bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in milk and melted butter. Then stir in grated carrots, raisins, and nuts.

4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and fold until just combined. Do not over-mix.

5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until springy when touched in the center. Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz pkg cream cheese, cold
4T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1-1/2 to 2 C confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 t vanilla flavoring

Cream the butter and cream cheese together until combined. Gradually add confectioner's sugar beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Spread the frosting with a knife on cooled muffins or pipe out of a pastry bag fitted with a rosette tip.

Orange Glaze

2 C confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 C fresh-squeezed orange juice, strained
1/4 t finely grated orange rind

Combine all ingredients and whisk or stir until smooth. Spoon or drizzle over cooled muffins.

Honey Butter

Stir 2-3 T honey into 1 stci slightly softened butter. Re-chill, if desired.

This week's bounty included:

From Underwood Family Farms: 2# broccoli, 1 fennel bulb, 1 bunch Easter radishes, 1 bunch purple carrots, 1 bunch mizuna, 2 bunches spinach, 4# navel oranges, and 1 bunch arugula.

Mustard microgreens from Silver Lake Farms.

From Weiser Family Farms : 1 medium onion and 1 # parsnips.

And from Rancho Santa Cecilia: 2 avocados and 1 # of delicious satsuma mandarins.



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