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Spiced carrot muffins

spiced carrot muffins

Nicholas loves making and eating ‘muffles’ (that’s muffins to you and I!). I’m not sure he understands that what he’s stuffing into his mouth are the fruits of his zealous stirring and pouring, but that doesn’t matter; we both like eating them.

While these muffins aren’t sugar-free, I have reduced the sugar a lot. With the healthy carrot, seeds and sweet raisins inside, as well as some wholemeal flour, I think the amount of sugar is ok. And adding a pinch of extra sugar on the top makes them seem much sweeter than they are πŸ˜‰

You can easily leave out the seeds, but I like the different texture they add to the muffins. I also like sprinking a few more over the tops before baking.

SPICED CARROT MUFFINS

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 18-20 mins
Makes 12 regular-sized muffins
Freezable

150g white self-raising flour
100g wholemeal self-raising flour
75g golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
30g raisins
20g pumpkin seeds
20g sunflower seeds
125ml vegetable oil
125ml milk
1 egg
1 large carrot, grated
Extra golden caster sugar for sprinkling

Preheat theΒ  oven to 180C and grease your muffin tin with a little oil or cooking spray (or line your tin with paper cases to avoid washing the tin).

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the white and wholemeal flours, the caster sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir in the raisins, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, until evenly distributed.

In a jug or another bowl, whisk the oil, milk and egg together. Squeeze the excess liquid from the grated carrot and stir it through the milk mixture.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (mixing too much will make your muffins heavy and dense).

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 18-20 mins until golden on top and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

spiced carrot muffins

Variations:

  • add chopped walnuts or pecans instead of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Tip: soak the raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes beforehand to become plumper and avoid them drying out while cooking.

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Sugar-free carrot loaf

I don’t know about you, but when 4 o’clock comes around my tummy starts feeling empty. Nicholas is usually napping and I’m ready to sit down, have a coffee and not think of mummy things for a little while. Then my mind wanders to thinking about what chocolate we have in the house!Β  So looking for something healthier for me that could also be a healthier sweet snack or breakfast option for Nicholas, I thought I’d try adapting this Foodista recipe for breakfast carrot muffins.

I used wholemeal flour and used my apple sauce instead of sugar to be healthier. I also substituted the butter with vegetable oil, upped the carrot, added some sultanas and vanilla for extra sweetness, and some spice (cinnamon and nutmeg). I was very happy with the result – a dense moist loaf. Next time I’ll try adding some walnut pieces for some crunch.

This recipe works well both as a loaf or as muffins. Spread with some butter to be indulgent!

SUGAR-FREE CARROT LOAF

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hr
Makes 1 loaf
Freezable

2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated carrot (packed in as tight as you can!)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sultanas


Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a medium-sized bowl.

To the grated carrot mix in the wet ingredients (apple sauce, beaten egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla).

Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix fairly quickly to combine. Stir through the raisins and sultanas.

Pour into the loaf tin and cook for 50-60 mins until golden on top and cooked when tested with a skewer.

Variations:

  • add some chopped walnuts
  • add some powdered ginger or cardamom for some extra warm spice
  • make as muffins

Tip: if you have a food processor, check if you have a grating attachment to make preparing the carrot faster and easier.

Double-baked banana teething biscuits

Biscuits are my favourite thing to bake. They’re probably my favourite thing to eat as well. For a quick sugar fix with less guilt than a piece of cake, they can’t be beaten. I like them chewy, crumbly, crisp or gooey – I’m not picky! Usually the perfect accompaniment is a glass of milk, but for the famous Italian cantuccini that are rock hard you have to, just have to, dip them in a sweet dessert wine.

Cantuccini are extra hard from being baked twice. This technique is perfect to make teething rusks or biscuits for your dribbling munchkin to gnaw on.

I came across a recipe for twice-baked banana teething biscuits by Jennifer Cheung. This is my first try and it needs some adjusting. The second baking was too long in my oven and it coincided with Nicholas needing more attention so I didn’t check them. Although in the photo of the original recipe the biscuits look very dark, mine came out looking more burnt :(. Oh well, not everything works all the time. Next time I would bake them the second time for 20-30 minutes. However, Nicholas hasn’t minded them being overcooked.

I made half the mixture. First because the recipe looked as if it would make a large amount of biscuits (although you can freeze the biscuits) and second because I had one and a half very ripe bananas that needed using and they mashed up into exactly half of what the original recipe needed. I used a loaf pan rather than the slice tin suggested because of the smaller amount of mixture, but it rose a lot so next time I’d use a wider tin.

BANANA TEETHING BISCUITS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1hr 30 mins
Makes about 20
Freezable

1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 1/2 bananas)
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 180C and line a slice tin with baking paper.

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well combined.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for one hour.

Leave the oven door open to cool and drop the temperature to 150C.

Remove what now looks like a banana cake from the pan and cool a little. Slice into sticks (I found it easier to use a bread knife as my loaf was quite high) and lay the slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Using a bread knife makes it easier to slice

After I took this photo I sliced some of the fatter biscuits in half

Bake for another 20-30 minutes.

What do you do when your little one is teething to help soothe their sore gums?

Update: my next attempt at these biscuits was much more successful… and also sugar-free!