These spiced carrot muffins are perfect for fall when carrots are amazingly sweet. Loaded up with vitamins, fibre, protein, and calcium, they will get you through your busy morning with ease. And although they’re healthy, I promise they taste nothing of the sort!
When I was living away from home for a semester during university, my roommate and I decided we were going to finally be rid of that freshman fifteen we had accumulated. But let’s be real here — who only gains fifteen pounds during five or six years at university? Unless your major involves running on a daily basis, it’s more like a freshman twenty-five, isn’t it?
You know what I’m talking about. The late night cram sessions with bags of Doritos keeping you company; the coke you grab out of the vending machine because you forgot your water bottle (again); or that jumbo muffin you snag while rushing to make your next lecture. All of these choices may not have been the best, but they were quick, convenient, and eating healthy wasn’t much of a priority when you had three papers to research in one night. Then, about four or so months before graduation (around the time when you’re supposed to be getting grad photos done), you realize something. None of your dresses fit and your summer coat is just a wee bit too tight. That bag of chocolate chip cookies from the grocery bakery sitting on the counter starts to look a little guilty, and you begin to regret that gourmet burger you had last night. You are a victim, my friend. But don’t despair! I was too, and so was my roommate.
We decided to sign up for the gym together, because it’s much easier to be held accountable for not going when you have someone telling you to go with them, and we also made a pact to start eating healthier. We got rid of the chips, cookies, and store-bought junk, trading them in for lettuce, quinoa, and kilo-sized bags of grapefruit. For about two weeks, we were very good. We exercised, took less naps, and ate meals Bugs Bunny would be proud of. Then something happened that I’m sure every woman reading this will completely understand. A a once-monthly tidal wave of sugar, butter, and carb cravings washed over us: PMS.
Although we tried to resist, we broke down, built a fort in our living room, and ate an entire DQ ice cream cake between the two of us. I like to think of that day as ground zero. There really wasn’t much further we could fall at that point. We decided that we couldn’t completely cut out all the treats in our lives — apparently that was just too difficult. Instead, we needed to come up with healthier alternatives so that we could eat things like muffins, ice cream, and cookies without feeling totally horrible.
That’s where these muffins came in. We both loved carbs, and since we were on a plan where we couldn’t eat them past 1pm, I decided our morning carbs were going to at least be worth it. You already know I love carrot cake, so it’s no surprise that my favourite muffin would also involve this sweet and crunchy root veg. I took it upon myself to develop a recipe for carrot muffins that only used whole wheat flour, honey for a natural sweetener, and healthy fats like Greek yogurt and coconut oil instead of butter. I’m proud to say that these muffins only took me two attempts to make perfect, and I’ve been making them ever since.
Baked goods that claim to be healthy tend to frighten me. While I’m all about using natural ingredients, I sometimes think people can go a little overboard. Muffins, in particular, can get quite gummy if you reduce the fat component too much, and they can get too dry if you use all whole wheat flour without adding more wet ingredients. I made sure these muffins didn’t have any of the shortcomings of the standard “healthy muffin.” They’re moist, soft, flavourful, and hearty — perfect for a grab-n-go breakfast.
My favourite way to eat these muffins is warm with a bit of natural almond butter or peanut butter for some extra protein. Yes, I did say to put nut butter on your carrot muffins. Trust me, it will change your life.
- 1¾ cup whole wheat (wholemeal) flour
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and coat a 6-cup (or 12-cup) muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, honey, coconut oil, and egg until fully combined. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet into the well. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon just until the flour disappears. Do not over mix. Fold in the carrots. Divide the muffin batter evenly among the 6 cups and bake for 20–24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the centre of a muffin comes out clean. (If you are using a 12-cup tin, reduce cooking time to 15–18 minutes.) Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
- They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3–4 days, or refrigerated for 5 days. These muffins also freeze well – keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.