Thursday, May 10, 2007

Since my husband l-o-v-e-s carrot cake . . .

It was an easy decision when he told me his men's Bible study group would be meeting at our house this morning, and I knew I needed to bake something for the boys to eat. So I turned to my newest cookbook, Baking: From My House to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan (, $26.40). Now, I'd never heard of Dorie before a few months ago. She's an accomplished and witty writer, and now I've joined the legions of bloggers who are part of her fan club. She has her own blog, where she wrote yesterday about winning a James Beard Award for this book.
She collaborated with Julia Child some years ago for one of her books, and also with Pierre Herme.

This is my second Dorie recipe. I'll write about the other one, ginger-scented brownies, another day. I don't bake muffins very often - we rarely eat them anymore, probably since I realized how laden they can be with fat, sugar and overall carbs. But since I know how Dave likes carrot cake, this seemed fitting for the group. They were easy to mix up - I did use my stand mixer, but on very low speed and only enough to blend the ingredients, and then I stirred in the coconut, carrots and raisins (I used golden). My muffin tin makes larger than average, so I only got 7 muffins from this recipe. They're delicious - the way muffins are supposed to be, not a cake posing as a muffin. What I really liked is the balance of spices - you can definitely taste the spices, but they don't overpower at all. Dorie nailed it on this one.

And I'm such a novice at this blogging stuff . . . how'd I do all this and post the recipe before 8:00 am, you ask? I baked the muffins yesterday, sealed them up in a Ziploc bag. I wrote up the recipe last night without tasting it (I had no doubt they'd be wonderful). This morning I dashed downstairs in my jammies a few minutes before 7:00 and cut one muffin in half, snapped the photo, grabbed a half to nibble on (delicious) and zipped back upstairs before the guys began arriving. Now it's from my kitchen to yours.

Carrot Spice Muffins
Recipe: Dorie Greenspan's BAKING: From My Home to Yours
Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots, about 3, peeled and trimmed
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
1/3 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°. Butter or spray the 12 muffin molds in a regular sized muffin tin, or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternately, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough - a few lumps are better than over-mixing the batter. Stir in the carrots, coconut, currants and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Notes: These are at their best about 30 minutes after baking. They will keep for one day, well covered, but then they should be frozen (up to 2 months). Reheat them (whole or cut in halves) for a few minutes at 350°. And if you bake them in a larger muffin tin, this will make 7, and you'll need to bake them slightly longer.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 310 Calories; 17g Fat (48.0% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 37g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 219mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.
To print just the recipe, click on the title of this post.

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