Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sugar-free Carrot Cake Muffins

Today I made a batch of sugar-free, half whole-wheat carrot cake muffins. I modified this recipe from The New York 'Recipes for Health' is the name of Martha Rose Shulman's cooking section on The NYT website. I also purchased her cookbook a while back and was pleasantly surprised with it. Shulman provides loads of recipes from breakfast to desserts, but everything is mostly all-natural and lower in fat. She is all about cooking what's in season and highlighting the natural flavors in the ingredients she uses. 

My changes to the recipe:
1. I used a sugar replacement instead of the brown sugar called for. Unfortunately, fake sugar doesn't caramelize and brown like brown sugar does, so my muffins are a lot lighter colored than I was expecting. Because I used the super sweet sugar replacement, I used only 1/4 cup instead of the 1/3 called for. With the addition of raisins, the muffins turned out just sweet enough. 
Don't forget to flour the raisins. 
2. The recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour. For those who don't know, whole wheat pastry flour is whole wheat flour that is light like normal flour. Most whole wheat flours are super heavy and can result in a dense product. Since they don't sell WWPF here I used half white flour and half whole wheat. Next time, I think I will use mostly whole wheat as the muffins weren't as nutty as I would have liked. 
3. You can't find buttermilk in Turkey, so I made my own using organic milk mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar. Do this first, stir it up and let it set to curdle a bit. 
4. I reduced the amount of oil from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup. I almost always do this. I find that you almost never need as much fat as is called for. The muffins were quite moist and you don't notice the reduction. 
5. I used 2 cups shredded carrots instead of 1.5. I always find that I like more of the star ingredient (in this case, the carrots) when baking. 

The muffins turned out nice. Definitely not one of my favorite recipes. I like my muffins chewier and nuttier. Plus, I really like nuts in muffins but I left the walnuts out this time because one of my friends is allergic. All in all, a pretty good recipe, but I plan to play with it a little bit more. I think maybe even the addition of some bran or wheat germ would do the trick. 

* My sister enjoyed one with some cheese, which I think elevated the muffins to a whole 'nother level. 
* For those interested, there was a calorie count on the original recipe, which listed them at 239 calories per muffin. Considering I used a lot less oil, I would put them at 200 calories each maximum. 

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