On a dark and rainy day here in New York City, I decided to reset my baker’s pantry. I’ve been very inspired by the students in the first Essential Vegan Desserts Course at Rouxbe, who’ve been doing the same.
I do keep a list of ingredients inside the cabinet doors, but when times get busy, I get forgetful, and anyway, pantry shelves need periodic cleaning, right? Among the items I’d forgotten about was an unopened bag of dried apricots. These apricots are sulfite-free and were quite dark, and as the bag was about a year old (I label and date everything!), and they were pretty dried out. I saw also a few 4-ounce containers of organic unsweetened applesauce. I pulled both of the items onto my butcher block mixing counter where, earlier I had put 3 carrots and a portobello mushroom. Next to the butcher blog I keep a lazy Susan with baking powder, soda, salt, extracts. And next to it was a jug of real maple syrup from Pete’s Sweets.
I wanted to bake. Muffins. Away went the mushroom and out came a muffin tin.
I knew I had a recipe in More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally for muffins that used carrots, apricots and applesauce, so I decided to play with the recipe. I got 12 large standard muffins that were not too sweet, rather low oil, and very good. Not the prettiest for sure, but tasty and very moist. Just the thing to enjoy with an almond milk latte and The Crown on Netflix.
These muffins are not only delicious, they’re quite nutritious, too. Dried apricots are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, iron, and antioxidants, and they’re great for a quick energy boost. Carrots are nutrition powerhouses – they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and they’re known to help fight cancer, improve vision, and protect the heart, among other things. I felt pretty good about eating one (or was it two?). There is a box in the freezer now so I can pull one out, defrost, even warm or toast this muffin on the next rainy day, or a sunny one… Enjoy!
Carrot Apricot Muffins
Moist and nutritious, low oil muffins
- 2 ounces, about 1/3 cup unsweetened sulfite free dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup water or apple juice
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons finely powdered whole cane sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade A dark or dark amber
- 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup any nondairy milk
- 3 tablespoons any neutral vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces / 1 cup firmly packed peeled and shredded carrots, about 3 average carrots
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Oil the top and cups of a 12-cup standard muffin tin.
- Soak the apricots pieces in the water for 15 minutes, or until they are plumped. Drain the apricots in a small strainer set over a measuring cup and reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid for the batter.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in their containers to aerate. Measure using the dip, overfill, level method. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the bowl.)
- Whisk to mix and aerate.
- Whisk the maple syrup, applesauce, soymilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and the 2 tablespoons reserved water in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture, and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir the carrots and drained apricots into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, using about 1/4 cup for each, filling each cup about almost to the top of the cup.
- Set the muffin tin on the upper rack. Immediately reduce the oven to 375°F. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the muffins look set and golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle of a few muffins comes out clean or with just a few moist but not wet crumbs.
- Cool the tin on a rack for 5 minutes. While the muffins are cooling, carefully loosen the dome of the muffin from the top of the pan. After 5 minutes, run the offset between the muffins and the inside of the cups, and lift each onto the rack to cool completely.
- Store loosely covered in a container or tin for a day. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Defrost uncovered.
- If you like shinier, sweeter muffins, brush the top of each with maple syrup or dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Recipe adapted from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, (Book Publishing Company 2006 by Fran Costigan)