An amazingly moist and delicious muffin cloaked in a good-for-you disguise. Chock full of apples, carrots, dates, walnuts and whole wheat flour, it seems like something you’d find on the menu of a trendy coffee joint in some big city. But NOPE! They’re in YOUR kitchen and making you smile this Sunday morning. 😋
Autumn weekends are made for these muffins. I can’t think of a better start to a lazy Sunday morning, than with a steamy cup of coffee and a plateful of these beauties. The warming, comforting spice of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon play their supporting role perfectly, helping the apple and carrot flavors pop. Chopped dates and walnuts are the icing on the cake.
They say that cooking is an art, while baking is a science.
About as far back as memory serves, I always felt comfortable going off script in the kitchen – tossing together ingredients that I had on hand, adding a pinch of this, a drizzle of that – creating my own dishes. BUT free wheeling when baking, well that’s a whole different story.
We’ve all experienced it. One simple baking tweak (or flub) and disaster strikes. Last week I mistakenly left out one measly egg in a gingerbread cake!! It came out of the oven all warm and gooey looking – but at first bite our family knew something was terribly wrong.
I remember it clear as day… my first attempt. One autumn afternoon, a number of years back, when my youngest was still tottling around, I had the idea to make a healthy pumpkin bread for my kids. I knew exactly what I was looking for… the problem is I couldn’t find THAT recipe anywhere. So I figured I had no choice… what was the worst that could happen, right? I went for it!
Was my first crack at developing my own pumpkin bread recipe a smashing success? No way. But the end result wasn’t terrible either – and I realized that in having studied SO many baking recipes along the way, I had a grasp of the basic proportions. Yes, I COULD tinker with baking!
Once I had tried it a few times, I got good at recognizing what the batter should look like, how much leavening (and what kinds) should be used, balances of sweeteners to flours and wet ingredients, and how much fat (butter and eggs) should be incorporated.
Of course I had (and still have) misses along the way, but I got comfortable baking up my own creations, and tweaking them after my family gave me their (very) honest feedback, especially on the misses🤪 .
Fast forward. I knew I wanted a healthy morning muffin. BUT it had to taste GOOD. (There are WAY too many muffin recipes out there that taste like cardboard. Sorry.)
In my muffins, carrots, apples and dates provide healthy fiber and vitamins, but also provide wholesome sweetness and a welcomed chew. Maple syrup, orange juice and coconut oil ensure they’ll never be dry. The spice combo is what makes it pop, bringing that seasonal vibe.
Start to finish these can be on the counter in under 45 minutes – but you can also make them the night before and quickly warm them up in the toaster on a lazy weekend morning! And keep these in mind for those upcoming holiday mornings… I can’t think of a better day of, Thanksgiving treat.
Any Tips or Tricks?
- I give the weight measurements for more accuracy in baking this recipe. I love using my kitchen scale and will provide more weight measurements for baking recipes in the future, as it’s really a great way to make sure you are using the right amounts. No worries if you don’t have a scale though- I also give the standard cup measurements as well.
- Walnuts can be swapped for pecans, or just left out.
- Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. It melts quickly on the stovetop or microwave and does not need to be hot, just liquid form.
- Dates can sometimes dry out and be difficult to chop. I keep mine in the fridge to avert this, but if they are hard to work with you can soften them in some warm water for a minute or two before chopping. Make sure to remove the pit!
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Carrot, Apple & Date Morning Muffins
- 1 ¾ cup (190 grams) whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup (70 grams) almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice from ½ medium orange
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups (260 grams) grated carrots, on the small holes of a box grater
- 1 medium apple grated
- 8 dates pitted and chopped
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 325. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour through allspice) and mix with a whisk.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the coconut oil, orange juice, eggs, fresh ginger, vanilla and brown sugar.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk. Switch to a rubber spatula, and stir in the grated carrots, apple, dates and walnuts. Using a large cookie scoop or measuring cup, divide equally among the 18 muffin liners. Bake for 18-22 minute, until cooked through. Cool at least 5 minutes before enjoying.
Tips & Tricks
- Muffins keep at room temperature for two days, or can be frozen for a month.
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This muffin recipe looks great. Since I have a gluten allergy, can I use all almond flour in place of the whole wheat?
I enjoy reading your column!
Thank you! I can’t say for certain how it will turn out since I haven’t tested it out, but if you try it please let me know how they are. I imagine a gluten-free flour blend would work well too.
Can you substitute melted butter for the coconut oil?
Yes you can!
When I bake, which isn’t all that often, I usually go for a decadent brownie or sugary breakfast treat. The way you described these muffins sounded so good however, that I needed to give them a try. I’m so glad that I did as they were fabulous. Nice and moist, and just the right amount of sweetness for them to taste great and be healthy at the same time. Keep up your super recipe writing. Your creations are always so good and I love reading your stories.
Thank you Tamara! I do enjoy decadent treats, but most often do healthy baked goods for my family and these are on regular rotation right now! Along with the banana bars and granola bars – be sure to check those out too! I think you’ll love them.