It’s officially fall!! This is truly my favorite season – the one I wait all year for. My obsession with apples is now at an all-time high, and these muffins are loaded with tart Granny Smiths. Carrots and cranberries really ramp up the fall flavors, making these the perfect healthy counterpart to last week decadent caramel muffins.
With just three of us, the holidays were never such huge occasions for my family. Growing up, we already saw each other all the time, so it wasn’t like we were waiting all year to be together again. But since I’ve moved out and only go home once or twice a year, the holidays have become much more meaningful as it’s one of the few times a year I get to spend time with my parents.
This year, my parents came to visit me here in New York, their first visit since they helped me move into my apartment in May 2011. As a thank you to them, I decided to go all out and plan and cook the entire menu myself, and even arranged a pretty legit-looking centerpiece.
I’m a vegetarian and my parents aren’t huge fans of turkey anyways, so the star of the meal was a nut-stuffed squash that magically tasted similar enough to sausage to satisfy even my father’s carnivorous appetite. The menu went like this:
- Whole wheat potato rolls
- Mashed potatoes
- Thyme roasted broccoli, carrots, and red potatoes
- Nut-stuffed butternut squash
- Lentil pot pies
- Pumpkin chiffon pie
And that’s how you do Thanksgiving for three people.
And then for those times you want to be good for breakfast, it doesn’t get much better than these. These really are healthy – no gluten, no eggs, low fat, and low sugar.
Eat a handful of these for breakfast and then treat yourself to a cupcake for dinner. You gotta have balance.
It might be redundant to call these carrot cake muffins – when it comes down to it, the only thing that separates a cake from its muffin brother is a layer of frosting. Whatever you want to call them, these muffins are really delicious. In fact, they might become my new go-to carrot cake recipe.
You could try and pretend that the two cups of carrots in the batter makes these healthy, but one bite of these and you’ll know that’s not the case. Decadent is right – these are deliciously rich and hearty and will be sure to add a little something extra to your morning.
My understanding of nutrition works like this – if there are vegetables in it, it’s automatically healthy. And if it sounds disgusting, it’s probably good for you. And if eating one of it is good for you, then eating all of it must be the best course of action.
These muffins are gluten-free (which is 1 point in your favor), have two different types of vegetables (which is 2 more points), and are also egg-free (by way of the disgustingly-named flaxseed, so another point!), so you can eat them all without feeling bad. And in the name of healthy living, you definitely should!
I love gluten. I really, really love it. If gluten were a band, I would be its groupie and follow it around on tours and buy all of its CDs and get its name tattooed to my ass. That’s how much I love gluten.
But these gluten-free cupcakes…I would happily cheat on gluten with these babies. They use almond flour only, which is unique because almond flour is typically a secondary flour that’s used in conjunction with brown rice flour or other bean flours. Using almond flour really helps keep the flavor and texture similar to a regular cupcake, so you can’t even tell that it’s gluten free. There’s also no xanthan or guar gum, so no need to hunt around for specialty ingredients – at the same time, because these ingredients are omitted, these cupcakes don’t bake up quite as high as typical cupcakes would. Either way, they’re still delicious, and would make a great birthday treat for gluten-intolerants and gluten-lovers alike.