In contrast to the relative indulgent Black Bottom Cupcakes that show up on so many cafe menus in the morning (and bake sale tables in the afternoon!), these Carrot, Apple and Honey Muffins seem to be even more virtuous than they actually are.
And they are pretty good for you – as well as pretty darn tasty. The muffins are moist, tender and relatively low in fat. They are enriched with wheat bran and are packed with both shredded carrots and diced apples. The wheat bran adds a bit of texture to the muffin and helps keep it from seeming dense, while the diced apple adds a hint of crunch, replacing softer fruits commonly found in carrot cakes and muffins, like raisins or pineapple. In addition, the muffins are relatively low in sugar, using honey to enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit and veggie components.
The honey also plays another role in these muffins. It retains moisture, keeping the muffins moist and tender even after they have been stored for a couple of days, after which a “regular” muffin may have become a bit dry or stale. This isn’t necessarily to say that you should make the muffins this weekend when you’re planning to eat them next weekend, but it is a great thing to keep in mind if you’re cooking for one or two and want those extra days to work your way through a batch of muffins.
These muffins have a gorgeous orange/brown color that looks best when made without muffin papers, so be sure to grease your muffin tin before spooning in the batter. They’re excellent when still warm from the oven, but are also good when toasted or topped with butter, peanut butter and/or cream cheese.
Carrot, Apple and Honey Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrot, drained and packed
3/4 cup diced apple (1 medium apple, peeled)
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat bran, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, honey, buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour buttermilk mixture into the well. Stir until just combined, then add in the shredded carrots and diced apples.
Divide evenly into muffin tins and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 muffins.