My recent dealings with the veggie-packed polentas have inspired me to fill more days and shopping carts and plates with fresh produce. I like veggies as a rule, but I think I just needed that push to bring them to the forefront better after the comfort-food-era better known as Winter. I really need to get better at enjoying produce seasonally, meaning piling high and savoring fresh veggies as they are in their peak. The Spruce Eats has a wonderful breakdown about what’s in season in Texas and when… I just need to commit it to memory better!
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a bunch of recipes from Laura Bush and many of them sounded so exciting that I printed them out for the future. When the mood strikes or the occasion is appropriate, I whip out on of these recipes to try. And since I had plenty of shredded carrots left from the polenta, I thought it might be fun to try one of her healthier recipes for Carrot Muffins. Half the work was already done for me after all!
This reawakened excitement for veggies has makes me want to figure out where and how I can fit them in. On top of this, we’re working more now than we foresaw, so preplanning is an absolute must. On one of our busier weeks recently, I whipped up a batch of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Muffin Mix (adding in lemon and blueberries). These were perfect for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or snack! I was so happy with how they turned out that I knew the Carrot Muffins would go over equally well!
Now, I wanna preface this by saying, I followed this recipe to the T. Baking is so much more of a science than cooking, so I generally try to stick closer to the vest on those recipes. I even double and triple checked the recipe. Somehow… Somehow, I wound up with too much/too loose batter. I really should’ve gone with my gut on this one. I know I said I prefer to stick to recipes as they’re presented, but I really feel that I should have done one of two things. I either should have stretched the batter between 18 cups as opposed to 12 or I should’ve increased the flour called for in the recipe (maybe just by a half cup) or add in some quick-cooking rolled oats (half cup or so) to thicken it up a bit. After a quick Google search, I was relieved to find that about half of the reviewers online had the same problem.
When the Carrot Muffins came out of the oven, the first thing The Mr said was, “They look like cookies!” And that they did if you were looking at them from an aerial viewpoint. After pulling the muffins out of the oven, instead of golden Moroccan-style domes, I was greeted with something that resembled airy gingersnaps. They looked like cookies, but what’s more, they smelled like cookies too! It was really hard to restrain myself from swirling on rich dollops of frosting when they were cool. They are for breakfasts and snacks, so it didn’t feel quite right to make them less healthy.
The muffins were not-too-sweet with generous chunks of pecan studded throughout. The recipe calls for 1/2c chopped pecans. You could add more if you’d like, but the 1/2c was plenty for us. Plus, I toasted the pecans beforehand deepening their flavor and adding a new dimension to the simple recipe. It’s true. The recipe is simple and straightforward without a great big fuss, but it delivers all the right flavors!
The muffins remained tender and moist long after they left the oven. They were practically falling out of their muffin cups, they’re so tender. I also may be persuaded to top off one or two for a treat after dinner tonight! We’ll pretend it’s carrot cake!
What is the best way you remember to work fresh produce in?
Currently Reading: Magnolia Journal, Issue 12, Fall 2019