Do you have a favorite time of year?
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The fall has always been mine, and this past weekend was the perfect reminder of why I love it so. Clear blue skies, a hint of crispness in the air, and while a jacket wasn't required, you could sure see it from there.
This summer we've purposed more picnics. It's been fun to meet mid-day for lunch on campus or one of the many park benches though-out town. I usually pack wraps, a few pieces of fruit, or muffins to eat. They're all things that can survive a couple of hours in my bag without looking horribly sad.
I first made these cupcakes for our neighborhood's Labor Day get-together, stashing a few away in the freezer before we headed out.
Not only are they gluten-free, but packed with carrots, fruit, and spices. Their texture is substantial and rich thanks to the coconut and hazelnuts. Banana and maple syrup add natural sweetness.
Topping them off is a frosting made with greek-yogurt style cream cheese, honey, and a little bit of lime juice. A sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts and they're simply irresistible.
A quick word about almond flour, if you don't have some, it's simple to make at home by pulsing unsalted almonds in a food processor. Be careful not to over-do it though, if you process them too much you'll end up with almond butter
ps: They make a great breakfast muffin if you leave off the frosting (don't forget to add a bit of protein on the side)
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~ Adapted from Mother Earth Living
Carrot Coconut Cupcakes
- ½ cup butter unsalted, at room temp
- 4 Tbsp maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds, freshly ground
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup oat flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ cups carrots, grated (~ 4 or 5)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 4 egg whites (large or XL eggs)
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 1 ½ tsp lime juice
- ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Prepare a 12-muffin tin with muffin cups or a thin layer of coconut oil (or butter)
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the liquid sweetener, ground cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla. Set aside to cool
- In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, and coconut.
- Using a large wooden spoon (or your clean hands), mix in the shredded carrot and mashed banana until thoroughly incorporated. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (~ 3-4 minutes)
- Fold them into the flour and carrot mix and add the spice-infused butter and stir until smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling each to about three-quarters full.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.
- In the meantime, make the frosting. Whisk together the cream cheese, honey, and lime juice in a small bowl.
- Allow muffins to cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
- When ready to eat, spoon each muffin with a tablespoon (or more) of the frosting and sprinkle it with chopped hazelnuts.