Sunday, January 20, 2013

Carrot Date Muffins

Although I do indulge in culinary trends from time to time, I haven't jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon. There are plenty of people out there without a gluten intolerance that think going gluten-free is somehow healthier, but I'm certainly not one of them. That being said, if I come across something delicious that also happens to be gluten-free, I won't pass it up. Thanks to Good to the Grain, I have a deep appreciation (and large store) of less-than-mainstream flours. When I woke up New Year's Day in the mood to bake up some breakfast, I had everything I needed already in the pantry to make these coincidentally gluten-free muffins. Although they are a bit denser than ones I would typically make using whole wheat pastry flour, the lovely flavor of the almond flour makes up for the difference in texture. Carrots, dates, and maple syrup create a complex sweetness, combining beautifully with the rich nuts, aromatic spices, and tropical hint of the coconut oil. Naturally most delicious fresh from the oven, extras can be frozen so a quick breakfast is always at the ready. Whether you're going gluten-free or not, these muffins will get your day started right.

Carrot Date Muffins
adapted from Whole Foods Market
makes 12 muffins

2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup melted virgin coconut, high-heat sunflower oil, or canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3/4 cup amaranth flour or millet flour
3/4 cup ground almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or oil with natural cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place carrots and dates in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse and then blend until finely chopped. Add walnuts and pulse to finely chop. Transfer to a bowl; add oil, eggs and maple syrup, stir to combine completely.

2. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

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