Easter has got to be one of my favorite holidays.
I mean, you wake up in the morning and get to hunt for a whole basket of chocolate and treats that's just for you to enjoy.
Dark chocolate bunnies. Cadbury mini eggs. Coconut nests. Jelly beans.
And the list goes on. Everyone has their preferences.
As a kid, I was in heaven. I could sneak off to my Easter basket whenever I wanted and dig in.
I just had to use a little moderation because I knew I had to have room for a sweet-filled Easter brunch.
That's where muffins like these come in. I love carrot cake with Easter brunch, but when you add in cream cheese danishes and chocolate croissants it gets to be a bit much for one day.
These muffins have almost everything I love in carrot cake (minus the cream cheese icing and some of the sweetness), but they're much healthier. They're loaded with carrots and walnuts. They're absolutely divine warm.
If you serve these for Easter brunch, your guests will still have room for dessert. If you make them just for yourself, you'll be extra delighted. These freeze incredibly well and are easy to reheat in the mornings for breakfast.
Carrot Cake Muffins
recipe adapted from Stonewall Kitchens
If you prefer a more intense nutty flavor, feel free to toast the walnuts. I like there to be just a hint of walnuts so I left them plain.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup almond milk (or regular milk--your preference)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed grated carrots, about two large carrots
2/3 cup grated, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Walnut Cream Cheese Spread:
1 cup plain cream cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly coat 18 muffin cups with spray oil or butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, ginger and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Whisk in oil, almond milk and vanilla until well combined. Pour the oil/egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently. Add the carrots, coconut and walnuts. Mix until just combined.
Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each one about halfway.
Bake the muffins for 13 to 17 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the oven. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then remove them from the pan. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the walnut cream cheese spread: Using a soft spatula to combine the cream cheese and walnuts. Serve aside the muffins. It is especially delicious on the muffins when warm.