I woke up on Sunday thinking about carrots. I don’t know why. As luck would have it, we happened to have some in the root cellar, courtesy of the CSA. We had eaten a fabulously indulgent dinner the night before at Astier (more to come on that, I promise), so we weren’t particularly hungry, but I thought something healthy might help overcome the guilt that always seems to follow an especially gluttonous evening.
Carrot muffins sounded like the perfect antidote. I wanted crunchy nuts, rich molasses, and whole grains. A glance through my bookmarked recipes yielded nothing like what I was looking for, but a molasses and whole wheat muffin recipe from Paul Prudhomme by way of Cooking Books and a zucchini bread from 101 Cookbooks via Hopie’s Kitchen looked like good starting points. Of course, Prudhomme’s recipe had no carrots (nor eggs, which I found troubling, and what looks on paper like WAY too much baking powder), and the zucchini bread had no molasses, though I did like the idea of incorporating crystallized ginger into the mix.
Flipping back and forth between the recipes trying to figure out the correct amounts of baking powder and soda was giving me a headache, and I was getting steadily hungrier. Ultimately, I guessed at the leavening amounts since I was changing the recipes so drastically anyway. Enough math and chemistry, it was time to start baking! Neither recipe had as much whole grain as I wanted, so I threw in some rolled oats for their heart-healthy properties, and I thought that the sweet crunch of hazelnuts would compliment the carrots and ginger nicely (also, that’s what I had lying around). While mixing up the batter, I realized I didn’t have any milk, so in a very WWPPD moment, I added cream. And then a little more.
I don’t have a regular muffin pan, but I do have some silicone molds in about the same shape. Trouble is, I hate the way things baked in silicone molds come out with weirdly rubbery exteriors. (Custards are an exception, as are pudding cakes and their saucy ilk, but anything with more flour than liquid comes out strangely.) Lacking muffin cups, I fashioned some out of squares of parchment paper, which worked better than I expected or even hoped.