Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

My carrot zucchini muffin, that is.  And by better I mean heartier and healthier, obviously.  I love sneaking vegetables into baked goods, but I’ll be the first to tell you that simply because the vegetables are in there, does not mean the goodie is good for you.  Traditional carrot cake, for example, is loaded with refined flour, sugar, and saturated fats.  The carrot adds nutrients for sure, but no matter how you slice it, carrot cake, zucchini bread, morning sunshine muffins (you know, the one with carrots and raisins?) and the like are just as indulgent as chocolate cake, corn bread, and lemon poppy-seed muffin.  So by all means indulge (with moderation), just don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are eating healthily. As you will notice, these carrot zucchini muffins have a lot of ingredients, but please do not shy away from the recipe!  These muffins are a synch to whip up and will be sitting on your plate in no time.  If you want to make these even healthier, you can: use a ½ cup applesauce instead of the oil; egg substitute instead of the eggs; and stevia instead of brown sugar.  I, however, took out some of the bulge but not all of the indulge (too much?) in the following muffin:
1½ cup white flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ cup oats
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1½ cup yogurt
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrot
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Line with muffin cups, or grease, two muffin tins. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl mix together the first nine ingredients (the dry ingredients). In a different bowl, beat together the oil, vanilla, and honey.

Beat in eggs and yogurt.   Then fold in the zucchini, carrots and walnuts until well incorporated.  Gradually fold in the dry mixture but be sure to do so in a few strokes as possible.  With muffins and quick breads, a light and fluffy crumb is most desirable—to create such a texture you want to avoid over mixing the batter.  Over mixing relaxes the gluten and results in a more dense baked good.
It is ok if you can still see some flour in your muffin batter.  The flour doesn’t need to be fully blended but it does need to be fully incorporated.  Divide batter among the muffin tins.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick/knife passes the clean test.

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