Adding vegetables to baked goods always makes them sound a little bit healthier. Zucchini bread and carrot cake, for instance, sound less indulgent than chocolate cake does, even though vegetables alone don’t make a recipe healthier. But even though they’re not turning your baked goods into health food, those veggies can put you on the right track to make a few other changes that actually do. My Whole Grain Carrot Muffins could easily have become carrot cake muffins, but I decided to make a few changes to my basic recipe that made them just a little bit healthier.
The muffins are made with white whole wheat flour and oatmeal, which both give the muffins a nice texture and a slightly nutty flavor. I also added ground flaxseed to the mix. They’re sweetened with brown sugar and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, and while they have a good spice flavor to them, they’re not as sweet as a regular carrot cake would be. These muffins have a slightly hearty feel to them, so you will feel satisfied when you eat one for breakfast and not like you just ate a piece of cake. That said, they’re still soft and moist, and lack the heavy texture that some other whole grain muffins can have. I like to serve these with a little bit of butter or cream cheese, although they are also tasty just as they are.
I prefer using white whole wheat flour because it has a softer texture and a lighter flavor than regular whole wheat flour, although you can certainly experiment with regular whole wheat or a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose if those are the flours that you keep in your kitchen. You could also put a twist on these by adding some shredded coconut into the muffins in place of part of the shredded carrots, or by mixing up the spices with ginger and cardamom instead of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Whole Grain Carrot Muffins
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups shredded carrots
Preheat oven to 375F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, vegetable oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain, then quickly fold in the shredded carrots.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.