Carrot Cake Muffins

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I have had a bit of a dilemma this week.  I have been overtaken by crisp, bright orange, organic carrots. There are literally 18 of them in my fridge.  Every day, they stare out at me from the see-through drawer and beg to be used before they go floppy...and before more show up in my next organic box.  

All winter, I roasted them with other root vegetables, tossed them into chicken soup or slow cooker meals, and even made them into a lovely carrot soup.  But, the weather is getting warmer, and I'm not quite in the mood for a heavy stew...what to do?

I did a bit of searching online and found several recipes for carrot cake, carrot cookies, and carrot muffins.  I merged a few together with my own thoughts to make what I have decided to call "Carrot Cake Muffins." I did everything using my food processor, but you can use whatever tools/methods work best for you. The walnut oil gives it a lovely nuttiness, but don't stress if you can't find it. These muffins were moist and cake-like, and the spices and spiked raisins gave them a terrific flavor. 

  • 1/2 cup Cointreau 
  • 1 TBS orange zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 pinch plus 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each, nutmeg and allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, grated carrots  (about 6-8 carrots, depending on size)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil (or vegetable oil if you can't find it)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

To Do:
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Butter/flour 12 muffin tins, or line with paper muffin liners.
  • Heat orange liqueuor to just boiling, and add orange zest. Cook 1 minute, then remove from heat and drain hot liquid into a small heat-safe bowl (toss the zest). Stir in the raisins and set aside to let them marinate/plump up. I like to add in a pinch of cinnamon at this point.
  • Chop pecans using food processor, stir in the 1 tsp of cinnamon, the nutmeg, allspice and salt, and set aside in small bowl.
  • Chop carrots using food processor, and add in sugar, oil and eggs until blended.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl (flour, powder, soda) and add in the spiced chopped pecans. Then, add this mixture to the food processor bowl that holds the carrots. Process until the ingredients are moist and have a batter-like texture.
  • Drain the raisins and then fold them into the batter with a wooden spoon.
  • Fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way full and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. If you have extra batter like I did, make mini-muffins! (My mini-muffin pan is one of my favorite things lately.)
  • Top with your favorite icing for dessert, or eat plain, slathered with butter for breakfast.