Happy Monday readers! I’m Emily Cobb, author of art and lifestyle blog “emily’s eye.” It is quite the honor to be your Muffin Monday contributor for I must admit: I am not a professional baker or cook.
I love food though, and have been working in the restaurant industry for seven years so I’m not completely clueless. As an artist, I love combining the flavors of various ingredients as if they are paint on a canvas. When grocery shopping I’ll buy ingredients that interest me rather than having a specific recipe in mind. So when it comes time to cook or bake I become a pantry scavenger and will select items that I feel may mesh well. My goal is for the ingredients to accentuate each others’ best qualities without overwhelming.
Sometimes I come up with kitchen gems . . . sometimes I get laughable flops. The element of surprise when experimenting sure keeps things interesting.
Clearly the creative process is what I really love about cooking – well, the eating part is pretty awesome too. That said, lets talk muffins . . .
For today’s recipe: a medley of medjool dates, cashews, coconut, orange, fresh ginger and cardamom put a funky twist on the typical carrot-nut muffin rut. The spice combination makes these muffins downright mysterious while the dates, like nature’s caramel, add a serious dose of sweetness.
Warning: these muffins may be treading on carrot cake territory. . . not that there’s anything wrong with having dessert for breakfast. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to start your day. (Even if it is at the crack-of-noon, as is typically the case with me.)
As a true American my personal motto is “Go Big or Go Home:” I use a jumbo size muffin tin. This recipe will yield a dozen sensibly sized muffins or 6 big boys.
In closing, big kudos to Jen for creating the opportunity for local (and familial) foodie collaboration. Way to bring people together through baked goods. Viva Muffin Mondays!
Emily’s Spiced Carrot-Date Muffins with Cashews
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup coarse bran (miller’s bran)
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut flakes (plus a bit extra to garnish)
3 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
½ tsp salt
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
4 tbsp softened butter
3/4 cup shredded carrot
½ cup chopped (& pitted) medjool dates
1/3 cup chopped cashews
2 tbsp shredded fresh ginger (for the best flavor use fresh, otherwise, substitute ½ ground ginger)
1½ tbsp orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 400, and use a food processor to shred carrots and a little nub of skinned fresh ginger. Prep the rest of the items by hand and combine each set of ingredients (the dry, the wet, and the delicious) in 3 separate bowls with the dry in the largest bowl (all the ingredients will end up here.)
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Then fold and stir the two forces together until everything is just moistened.
- Fold in the remaining ingredients (the delicious). The consistency should be lumpy and moist – do not over work! Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, and sprinkle the remaining coconut flakes on top of each muffin.
- Depending on the tin size and/or the oven the muffins need anywhere between 20-30 minutes to bake. Do the clean toothpick test every 5 minutes after 20 minutes of oven time have passed to determine when they’re done. Like most pastries these muffins are excellent when served warm or reheated in the toaster oven. Enjoy!