Do you have a favorite
time of year?
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 & rich thanks to the coconut & hazelnuts. Banana & 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)
~ Adapted from Mother Earth Living .. here
Carrot Coconut Cupcakes
- ? cup butter unsalted, at room temp
- 4 Tbsp maple syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds freshly ground
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ vanilla bean with the seeds scraped (** or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup chickpea flour ** or other gluten-free flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups carrots grated (~ 4 or 5)
- 1 ripe banana mashed
- 4 egg whites large or XL eggs
- 1 8 ounces package greek-yogurt cream cheese, at room temp (or 1 cup greek yogurt)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts chopped & toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Prepare a 12-muffin tin with muffin cups or a thin layer of coconut oil
- 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 mean time, make the frosting. Whisk together the greek-yourt 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.