The other half is admirably continuing to eschew processed sugar in the run-up to Easter. I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen, trying to come up with something he can take into work to stave off temptation when his colleagues raid the biscuit box. The current favourite is this carrot and apple muffin recipe. After eyeing them with the mother of all dubious expressions, my previously sugar-besotted partner finally tried one and decided “they’re not very sweet, but I actually really like them.”
Will he continue to avoid sugar after Lent, I wonder? Possibly not, though I’ll continue experimenting if he does. But these little fruit and veg-filled powerhouses will still work well for breakfasts on-the-go or a mid-morning snack with a brew, any time of the year.
The batter is so chock-full of apple, carrot, banana and raisins that the mixture turns out thick and easily spoonable into cupcake cases. The muffins only rise a little – just enough to form a pleasing dome on top – but somehow they keep from being tough, possibly due to the moisture from all the fruit. The flour is basically just there to hold everything else together! The first time I made these, the muffins stuck to the cases a little, but a quick blast of cooking spray solves that problem.
I’m still no whizz at baking without the dreaded s-word, but after this success we’ll certainly add a little sugar-free pizzazz to our usual cake-tin rotation. I can see these being excellent, healthy lunch-box additions once the little one starts school in September. That is, if he’ll consent to eating things with “bits” in by then. Oh well.
- 150 g grated carrot (approx. 2 medium carrots)
- 1 apple
- 80 g apple sauce
- 1 ripe banana
- 50 g raisins
- 50 g vegan margarine
- 120 ml soya milk
- 2 flax 'eggs' (2 tbs flax, 4tbs water)
- 300 g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 190C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Now is also a good time to prepare the flax 'eggs': place two tablespoons of ground flax seeds and four tablespoons of cold water in a cup and stir well. Put the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes to become gelatinous.
In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and add the grated carrot, apple sauce, raisins and soya milk.
Chop the apple into small cubes (leaving the skin on if liked) and stir through the fruit mixture. Add the flax eggs and mix well.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, stirring well to ensure the bicarbonate of soda is fully mixed in.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cases and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. A skewer inserted in the middle of one of the cakes should come out clean.
Leave the muffins in the tin until they can be comfortably handled, then transfer to a rack until fully cooled.