Ginger Snap Carrot Maca Muffins with Pecans, Dates and Cream Cheese! Oooooh and they’re Spelt!

Yay I am finally starting my baking & breads category! I just randomly made this recipe up this afternoon and it actually worked out really well! So I am happy to share it with you here. I borrowed the technique and the basic flour/eggs/sugar/grated veg ratio from this recipe. Craziest Zucchini Bread Ever! Which I have made before with some alterations of course, and it was super yummy (my own spice combo instead of curry powder among other changes). I did find it to be a tad dry and added more butter which did the trick. Next time I make my version I will share it with ya!

A little background… I worked as a baker for a few years in my early twenties and may have learned a trick or to. That said, I seldom used that particular skill set after I left. I was never cuckoo for baked goods. I love a bad ass baguette slathered in butter and/or French cheeses, but unless I could magic one by blinking my eyes and wriggling my nose like a bunny à la Bewitched I doubt I will ever bother trying making one myself, there is just so much good bread in Vancouver.  And croissants? Waaaaaaay too much work. That said, now that there are kidlets running around… especially a kidlet that I need to sneak more veggies into…. I am baking again. A) I can control what goes into the goods and B) it’s a fun activity for lil ones to participate in and it makes the house smell delicious.

Now onto the task at hand. Or to the whisk IN hand.  (Mom joke – ughhhhh – and not even remotely funny – I could’ve just deleted all that –  but my fingers… they just keep typing….now this is getting awkward) Please look away for a moment and pretend this never happened.

So how about them carrot muffins?! Let’s get some secret veggies into the wee one. And also…

I love carrot cake. However, I find most of them to be waaaaaay too sweet. I also love a good carrot muffin, but I find most have too many things in them that I don’t really like: raisins, sultanas, canned pineapple, apple sauce, and various other things that just don’t jive with me… While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth I do love pumpkin pie, ginger molasses cookies, pecan tarts, cheese cake (which are the inspiration for this particular flavour profile)…..and….well a slew of other stuff (tiramisu, crème caramel, red bean paste anythings, sesame taro balls, baklava, ras malai, chestnut cake, canelé , matcha crepe cake, black sesame soft serve with mochi and mini cookies , black licorice gelato, cannoli…. and If I’m gonna eat a cake in a cup it’s gotta be this: Mancakes Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit – by a lovely local Vancouver company )… but I digress… sorry for the monologue. I told you I could be verbose. I guess I have a SMALL sweet tooth. That said, I am definitely way more into spices (cardamom is a favorite!), mellow sweetness, obscure flavours and exotic delights… rather than the middle of the road supposed BOLDNESS of Chocolate Lava Cakes or a banana split/ice cream sundae/sticky cold mess with all the fixings. No thank you. I’d rather eat capers on an olive on a pickle on a salt & vinegar chip.

Blah, blah, blah. Meow, meow, meow. Enjoy.

Preheat oven to 350F. Get a muffin tin ready with unbleached muffin cups.

Wet ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (I think coconut palm sugar would be awesome or raw cane sugar is good too)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Beat til fluffy

  • 3 eggs (cage free/organic when possible)

Add in one at a time to the butter sugar mixture, beating til fluffy

  • 3 cups grated carrots (approx 6 medium size organic if possible) patted dry with kitchen cloth or paper towel

Add in at the end and mix on low til combined with wet mixture created above.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon maca

Put in a separate bowl and stir with a fork til evenly distributed

Gently stir half dry mixture into wet mixture. Once combined gently stir second half in.  Then add your bits & pieces below!

Bits & Pieces:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I only used 1 cup which was fine as I was low on pecans but I think more would be even better so boosted the amount)
  • 4-6 dates chopped (I only had 4 left this time but use however many you prefer. You can also leave these out if you don’t like them)

Once you have the muffin batter ready to go… Scoop into muffin cups. You will have enough batter to make 12 large muffins. Then dollop on some cream cheese blobs (sounds gross tastes good) on top and top with a little more batter. You could also sprinkle on more pecans or some extra brown sugar for that molasses cookie vibe. If you really wanted to make them decadent you could make full on cream cheese frosting to top with later. Or you could slightly sweeten the cream cheese itself with vanilla and honey before dolloping on. But these are for the lil guys so I wanted to keep the sugar content as low as possible while still being tasty.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn the pan to make sure all muffins are getting even heat distribution. Bake for another 5-7 minutes then check again. If you touch with finger and muffin doesn’t bounce back up they need a little more time. You can also check with a toothpick to see if it comes clean. Might need another few minutes but all ovens are different.

Butter, brown sugar, vanilla and molasses getting ready to be creamed....

Butter, brown sugar, vanilla and molasses getting ready to be creamed….

Butter, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, eggs and carrots all mixed up!

Butter, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, eggs and carrots all mixed up!

Spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, maca, nutmeg and clove stirred til combined.

Spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, maca, nutmeg and clove stirred til combined.

Dry ingredients gently mixed into wet ingredients. Chopped pecans and dates getting ready to be folded in gingerly.

Dry ingredients gently mixed into wet ingredients. Chopped pecans and dates getting ready to be folded in gingerly.

Batter is ready!

Batter is ready!

Scoops of muffin batter topped with cream cheese. I left a few plain as well.

Scoops of muffin batter topped with cream cheese. I left a few plain as well.

All baked off and looking mighty tasty.

All baked off and looking mighty tasty.

This muffin was devoured! And both boys loved them! There is approximately half a large carrot in each muffin!

This muffin was devoured! And both boys loved them! There is approximately half a large carrot in each muffin!

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