Muffins aux Carottes

26 01 2009

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 meets grater

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.

Noisettes grillées

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.

MacGyvered muffin cups

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.

Freshly baked carrot-ginger-hazelnut muffins

The apartment filled with the homey, warm-spicy scent of freshly-baked muffins, Nick returned home from the market, and we had ourselves a nice, healthy breakfast.  And then we put butter on it.

Warm muffins + butter = bliss

Carrot-Ginger-Nut Muffins


An excellent breakfast, these muffins are full of wholesome grains and vegetables, plus protein and healthy fat from the nuts.  (I use hazelnuts, but pecans or walnuts would be good, too.)  Try the muffins warm with a pat of butter – hey, a little fat is essential to getting the maximum amount of vitamin A out of those carrots!


½ cup / 80 g whole wheat flour

1 cup / 150 g all-purpose flour

½ cup / 60 g rolled oats

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp / 90 g sugar

1½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. fine sea salt

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional – DO NOT use the pre-ground stuff!)

3 oz. / 75 ml water

¼ cup / 50 ml molasses

1½ oz. / 40 ml milk or cream

1 egg

1 cup / 140 g grated carrot (from about 3 medium)

¼ cup / 50 g finely diced crystallized ginger

½ cup / 40 g roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts, plus some for garnish

Cassonade or turbinado sugar for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C.  Wrap the grated carrot in paper towels to draw out some of the moisture.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners.  Avoid those silicone things at all costs.
  2. Using a whisk, combine the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. In a measuring jug, combine the water, molasses, and milk or cream.  Whisk to dissolve the molasses, then whisk in the egg.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the molasses mixture.  Stir gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until batter is evenly moistened.  Fold in the carrot, ginger, and nuts.
  5. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full and sprinkle the tops with more nuts and/or cassonade.
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.  Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool until you can handle them, then remove to a plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftover muffins will keep 2 days on the counter, covered in foil or plastic wrap.

Makes 8 large muffins.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




11 responses

26 01 2009
Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

Now that is my kind of muffin!! What a wonderful combination and I love the way you cooked them – Who needs a traditional baking pan anyway!!

27 01 2009

yummy these look soo delicious … love the photos .. Laila ..

27 01 2009

Cathy – Alton Brown is not wrong about multitasking kitchen utensils!

Laila – Thanks, I’ll pass the compliment on to my photographer/husband. 🙂

28 01 2009

They like a delicious breakfast muffin, I love the cups you made too, I’ll remember that one next time I run out of cases.

29 01 2009

Merci mille fois, Camille! Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for this recipe? Six years, and then some. When I was pregnant & living in Montreal, I used to stop by my favorite cafe almost daily for a latte (they were giving the thumbs up to a wee bit of caffeine in pregnancy at the time) and the perfect whole-grain carrot muffin (made at a bakery two doors down). When I moved, I actually saved the package with the ingredients list, with every intention of reproducing it, but, as these things go, I’ve never tried. Thanks for doing the soda/powder calculations for me. : )

29 01 2009

Do you really have a root cellar? I am so jealous! I want one!

Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks so delicious. Your photography (or your husbands!) is amazing and the muffin cups that you fashioned out of parchment paper are just perfect.

31 01 2009

Sam – Necessity is certainly the mother of invention. 🙂

Trisha – You’re welcome! Let me know how they come out.

Jessica – Well, I use the term “cellar” pretty loosely. It’s really more of a cupboard, but it has vents that open to the outside, so it stays cool and dark. Perfect for all my root vegetable storage needs.

6 02 2009

Made these a few days ago (with walnuts instead of hazelnuts, as that’s what I had) — fantastic! While I was mixing, I loved the vibrancy of the carrot against the whole-grain backdrop. I must say the texture and flavor closely match the object of my long-ago craving. I couldn’t believe it. Yay!

13 03 2009
Just a rant, part II « The Zest

[…] muffins (carrot oat, for example), a Babybel cheese and slices of nitrate-free turkey or […]

21 04 2009

I love the idea of lining a muffin tin (or in your case silicone mold) with parchment paper. I don’t have parchment paper, but I’ll try wax paper and we never have muffin/cupcake liners so this should be perfect.

25 04 2009

No! I mean, I have a bad feeling that the wax will melt and ruin your muffins and/or muffin pan. Parchment paper is getting easier to find in grocery stores… The small investment is totally worth it.

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