Hello? Are you still reading? I was worried that I would lose a number of you immediately after you read the title of this post. I, too, was a skeptic. When J mentioned Carrot & Quinoa Muffins as one of the many items in her Kentucky Derby party spread, I stared at them in disbelief. I've never been a huge fan of carrots in baked goods and, frankly, they sounded too healthy to be good. I should have known better than to doubt J, the woman who introduced me to my all-time favorite Kale and Pear Salad.
My Dad had the same reaction to these muffins. I offered to send him home with a few and he wrinkled his nose at me like he wouldn't possibly enjoy them. Then he tried one. He left our place with a bag full of muffins. Later, my Mom called for the recipe.
What I'm trying to say is do not be dissuaded by the healthful ingredients in these muffins. The carrot flavor is subtle. The coconut oil provides undertones of coconut, but nothing overpowering. The quinoa gives the muffins a wonderful texture. These are dynamite.
I've made these three times and have a few tips as a result. First, I think the coconut oil makes a huge difference in how these taste and I'd recommend using it. I found mine at Sunflowers Market and I am sure they have it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The first time I made these, I used 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil. The muffins tasted great but were a bit greasy. The second time around, I made these with butter and I frankly didn't like them as much. The third time (I know...ridiculous), I made them with 1/3 cup of coconut oil and they were tasty and less greasy. Finally,don't overfill the muffin cups! 3/4 of the way full produces lovely muffins that stay in the confines of their wrappers. Trust me on this one...
Carrot & Quinoa Muffins
Yield = 16 muffins
Note - I've since made these with millet instead of quinoa, which gave these a great texture with the crunch from the millet. I substituted 1 cup of uncooked millet for the 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (all-purpose flour works well, too)
3/4 cup almond flour (again, all-purpose flour works well, too, but I like mixing in almond flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter if you prefer)
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I've made these with regular yogurt, too)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup loosely-packed, grated carrots
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional - I usually omit these)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.|
2. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil (allow to cool), Greek yogurt, vanilla, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well. Gently fold in the carrots and walnuts until just mixed.
3. Divide batter evenly such that none of the muffin tins is filled more than 3/4 full. For me, this yielded 16 muffins. Transfer the muffins to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.