I love carrot cake. Although I am a self diagnosed chocoholic, I think that, given the choice, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting would probably win out over chocolate cake any day. There is something awesome about making a sticky, sweet and unhealthy dessert out of a simple veggie like a carrot. I think I also associate carrot cake with Spring and Easter. I am currently desperate for spring, which seems like it will never arrive. In fact, the forecast for tomorrow is for more snow. I long for temperatures above 40 degrees!
Craving carrot cake the other day, I decided to try my hand at some healthy muffins instead. I figured I could take the good parts of carrot cake: shredded carrots, raisins, and walnuts and leave out the bad stuff like fat, sugar and frosting. I scaled back on fat using apple sauce and shredded carrots for moisture, and added just a bit of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness.
One of my issues with muffins in general is that they have morphed from a hearty breakfast food into dessert. I wanted to make something that would give me a good start to the day and had plenty of fiber, protein and vitamins. So this is not an overly sweet muffin. It has enough sweetness to satisfy, but is far from sugary. If you are craving something sweeter. I encourage you to up the brown sugar from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup or even 2/3 cup.
Did I tell you the best part about these muffins? Each muffin has ONLY 210 CALORIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Take a deep breath and read that again: 210 calories EACH. And these are not mini muffins. Oh hell no – these are full size, super filling, make-a-meal-out-of-it muffins!!!
- 1.25 cups white flour
- 1.25 cups wheat flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup olive oil (or canola oil)
- ½ cup almond milk (or skim milk)
- 2 cup shredded carrots (approx 4-5 carrots, peeled and shredded)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened raisins
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, set aside
- In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, applesauce, oil, and milk until frothy
- Add carrots, raisins and walnuts to wet mixture
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture
- Using a rubber spatula, fold dry into wet ingredients. Be careful not to overmix
- Carefully spoon muffin mixture into greased muffin tin
- Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool