First of all – Happy New Year! I’ve been somewhat of a revision hermit (what else) for the past week or so. Let’s just say January exams are not the one. I’ve had time to procrastibake, of course, but I see it as a sort of morning-meditation. The light is good, I’m feeling hungry enough to spark creativity but not so hungry that I’d eat a bowl of plain porridge.
This particular batch of blueberry muffins happened last week as I’m a fiend for that cinnamon-crusted muffin top (so much so that it’s part of the reason this blog is called Top With Cinnamon), and was craving it badly. We seem to always have a well-stocked freezer at home with an abundance of blueberries, rhubarb, raspberries from the previous months. It means blueberry muffins in January are a thing that can happen. I did some cupboard foraging and found we had dried blueberries too – score!
Since doing the whole sugar free thang, my mum and I like to keep a jar of mushed dates in the fridge for cooking/baking with. It’s a simple thing to make and is endlessly useful (plus it’s delicious on a piece of toast with almond butter!). I incorporated it into the muffin batter, along with a grated carrot, in lieu of any refined sugar. As a compromise, I sprinkled a bit of demerara on top of each muffin for a sweet crunch 😉
Ah yes and a note on the carrots – I grated them on the fine side of the box grater which rendered them into more of a carrot mush. I did this becuase I wanted to be able to squeeze the juice out (reserving it) to be left with carrot pulp. This meant I could add the juice back into the muffin in a measured amount so the batter was the right consistency. It also means that the carrot shreds were undetectable due to their small size. I imagine that you could use carrot/apple pulp from juicing or nut pulp from making nut milk in it’s place. See the notes for a weighed amount if you do want to try that.
- 100 g carrot, , grated on the fine side of a box grater (see notes)
- 50 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter or 40g (1/4 cup) coconut oil (melted)
- 2 tbsp date paste, (see notes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 30 g (1/3 cup) ground almonds
- 35 g (1/3 cup) gram flour (or 35g oat flour/ 40g buckwheat flour)
- 35 g (1/3 cup) oat flour, gf if needed (or 40g buckwheat flour)
- 100 g (generous handful) frozen blueberries
- 3 tbsp dried blueberries or raisins, , optional
- 1 tbsp demerara, (raw) sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Line 6 cups of a muffin tin with muffin papers or grease the tin well with some butter or coconut oil.
- Gather the grated carrot in your hands and hold it over a bowl. Squeeze it to release as much of the juice as possible. Take this carrot 'pulp' and place it into a medium mixing bowl. Measure out 90ml (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) of the carrot juice from the bowl - if you don't have enough juice, make it up to 90ml with water. Add the measured carrot juice to the carrot pulp in the mixing bowl.
- Add the melted butter, date paste, vanilla and egg to the mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the baking powder, ground almonds, gram flour, oat flour, frozen blueberries and dried blueberries (if using) to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter between the 6 lined muffin cups. Stir together the topping ingredients (if using) and sprinkle over the muffin batter.
- Bake for 23-27 minutes, when a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin should come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before eating. Store at room temp in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
- My mum and I affectionately refer to date paste as date mush. All you do to make it is take a whole pack of dates (doesn't matter how many you have), pit them and place into a bowl. Pour over boiling water, just enough to cover them, and leave them for about 15 minutes. Once softened, use a fork to smush the dates into a rough paste. I prefer a chunky paste for baking with as you get little nuggets of date here and there but if you prefer a smooth paste, blend it up using a hand blender or regular blender until smooth. Store the date mush in the fridge, it keeps for a few weeks. We use it for everyday cooking/baking and even on toast!
- For the carrot pulp: I grated 100g of carrot (about 1 medium) on the fine side of a grater. I then squeezed the grated carrot over a bowl to release as much juice from it as possible. When weighed after squeezing I had 44g of this carrot 'pulp'. I added all the pulp to the batter along with 90ml of the carrot 'juice'. If you want to use carrot/apple pulp leftover from juicing or nut pulp leftover from making nut milk, I'd recommend using 44g of pulp along with 90ml of cow's milk, nut milk or fruit juice.