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Carrot-Apple-Nut Muffins

These moist and fruity muffins get raves for being a great breakfast bread to eat on the run. They offer many options for flavor variations with nuts and dried fruits; play with different combinations to find your personal favorite. Dried cranberries or cherries are an excellent alternative to raisins. Oat or wheat bran and the fruits and carrots add a nice boost of fiber. Because this recipe yields sixteen muffins, you will need two standard muffin pans. Always fill any empty muffin cups with water to prevent scorching in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat bran or wheat bran
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups grated, peeled tart apple
      (about 1 large)
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated, peeled carrots
      (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp.
      ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Butter 16 standard muffin-pan cups or line with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Set aside.

To make the batter by hand, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Stir in the yogurt and butter. Pour over the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until half moistened, 8 to 10 strokes. Add the apple, carrots, nuts and raisins and stir just until evenly distributed. Do not overmix.

To make the batter with an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat the eggs on low speed until blended, then beat in the yogurt and butter. Add the flour mixture and beat just until half moistened. Add the apple, carrots, nuts and raisins and stir just until evenly distributed. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 2 minutes, then turn the muffins out onto the rack. Serve warm. The muffins may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Makes 16 muffins.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003).