I might have mentioned once or twice Ronin’s aversion to vegetables, or frankly, food in general on most days. She eats but sparingly and is very discerning when it comes to, well, I don’t even know what it is that turns her into a sobbing puddle on the floor. When she was very young and only eating purees, she only ate carrots. ONLY. No rice cereal, no peas, no bananas, no nothing else. Just carrots. Luckily she quickly outgrew that but then she also hasn’t eaten carrots since—acts like we’re trying to poison her if we sneak a bit of carrot into her mouth. I’m overjoyed that she often will accept broccoli but I still spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to get other vegetables in her. The answer: through trickery.
This is a recipe I found online but then mangled somewhat (I do this). It’s not necessarily low fat but it is low sugar sort of. Or maybe not. I don’t know. It has a high carrot to flour ratio, which I like.
[Here’s the point where I said to myself, “I should totally blog this,” and ran for the camera. Clearly this is a not-terribly-photogenic step in the muffin process but I cleared the moldy pear out of the way and shot a photo anyway. Here you can plainly see one carrot’s worth of gratings, three unmolested carrots ruefully awaiting their fate, a bowl of flour, and some dirty dishes.]
DRY (mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon each: mace, allspice, cloves
[Because I am an insane person, I prefer to use a fine grater for my carrots. This grater is great, mostly. I like it because it is ingenious (container below!) and pretty (i.e., SHINY). The part where it isn’t great is that if you grate for more than two or three scrapes in any single direction, it somehow creates a perfect indentation and no more carrot gets cut (grate grate grate slick slick slick). To keep the carrot coming, you have to constantly turn the grater, which is sort of a pain in the ass. It makes me think of how when you are driving down I-5 en route to ANYWHERE BUT THE CENTRAL VALLEY OH GOD and you pass all those orchards with baby trees planted in perfect rows. They are always painted white or else they have white PVC pipe around their spindly trunks and as you pass them at 80mph they move into a perfect line shooting out to the point of extinction. The trees are of course planted in grid pattern and the major rows show up as bold lines but you also see smaller lesser rows as you view them obliquely, and then rows where you can’t imagine how there could be rows, rows within rows within rows and you only have a second to ponder the how or why and then you are like, in Arbuckle.]
1 cup oil (This is what the recipe says but I usually do 1/4 c oil and 3/4 c applesauce)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I know it’s not wet but I’m including it here because you have to mix it with the above two ingredients)
3 cups grated carrot (usually 4 decent-sized carrots)
1 cup raisins (if your raisins are old and crusty, soak them in hot water for 10-20 minutes to plump them up a tad)
[I really need to work on my food porn photography. a. Cool retro hand mixer I got from my grandma Mimi. b. Orange zest would actually be a really yummy addition to this recipe. I didn’t add any—this is an already zested orange that has been living on the counter the past few days, its rind turning into a crisp shell and its interior probably transforming into a funky cider. c. My cell phone: someone might totally try to call me! d. Mmm brown sugar. I confess I only used 2/3 cup this time (I’m turning into my mother). Also I picked through it and ate all those little hard molasses balls.]
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the oil, egg, and brown sugar with a beater. It’s a thick scary mess really and highly satisfying to whir all together. Put this aside and grate the carrot. If you happen to have a food processor, well aren’t you fancy and super awesome and I’m not jealous at all; this recipe will probably take you all of 3 minutes to assemble. If you don’t, grate the carrot using a hand grater. If you are crazy, use the fine grate size. My rationale is I’m trying to fool a highly suspicious toddler into eating The Hated Carrot Vegetable. Basically, if they sold powdered carrot flour, I’d pay big bucks for it and save my triceps the hurt.
Dump wet oil/egg/sugar mixture, carrots, and drained raisins into the flour and mix gently (all that baking powder/soda—gotta be careful!).
Portion out batter into muffin tins/cups/whatever it is you use (I have a non-stick muffin tin and a set of 12 silicon muffin cuplets, which are the cat’s ass). I get about two dozen out of this recipe but I’ve stretched it to nearly three dozen (I go for smaller muffins for no particular reason). Bake for around 20 minutes. I do the toothpick test to check if they are done or not. I try to time them on the inside edge of done but I usually overcook them by accident. They are still good. Best of all, Ronin actually likes them.
[This is why my muffins get overcooked. I can’t figure out where anything is and I never remember which direction is more or less heat. Sad. I suck at normal ovens too though so I take it in stride.]
(They are even better iced with cream cheese frosting, but I am a mean mama and typically deny Ronin such extravagances. I usually freeze the ones I won’t use immediately and thaw them on an as-needed basis.)