Spiced Carrot Muffins

by Sanjukta Moorthy

After making a luxurious roast dinner, I had a few carrots leftover and needed to make something to take in for breakfast. I did some research and found a few carrot muffin recipes, none of which really appealed in their entirety because they either used too much sugar or too much butter. I wanted something which tasted amazing but didn’t make me feel sinful if I had a couple for breakfast.

So here’s my version, low-fat, low-sugar but amazing. Don’t be disheartened by that – believe me, I love food that actually tastes like food, and I have the same reaction you do when I hear the words ‘low fat and low sugar’. But trust me, you really can’t tell at all.

I’ve added some candied orange peel, to add another layer to the spicy, Christmassy feel of these muffins. And if you’re using more than 1/3 cup, you actually don’t need any sugar at all! But that’s upto you – enjoy!

I took them home for my family – and they couldn’t tell it was a healthier version! I thought that’s as good a taste test as I’m going to get, so here’s the recipe!

Makes 24 muffins

3 cups grated carrots (some carrots don’t need to be peeled, so I topped and tailed mine, and grated them using my amazing food processor’s grater function!)

1.5 – 2 cups roughly chopped golden sultanas (Soak these in boiling water (I prefer orange juice because it ties in with the flavours) for about 30 minutes until they’re amazingly plump)

1.5 cups plain flour

1.5-2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar (completely optional, I find that the carrots get sweet as they’re baked so you could take this out completely)

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground allspice

About 10 shaves of fresh nutmeg

2 eggs

1/3 cup candied orange peel (or peel of your choice)

2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil and it works just as well)

1 cup choppped nuts of your choice – I’ve made this a few times and used almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts – all of which work really well! Pick your favourite!

Combine eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl with either an electric mixer or a whisk. I used a whisk since I hardly used any sugar or oil, and it’s pretty easy! Preheat the oven to 180C.

Sift the flour into a separate, medium bowl and add the salt, spices and baking powder.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, and incorporate using either an electric mixer or a whisk.

Fold in the carrots, nuts, orange peel and raisins. This doesn’t need to be done carefully, but it does need to be thoroughly mixed so keep going until you’re happy with how it looks.

Spoon the mix into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and enjoy!