NOTE: The original recipe comes from Gregory Gourdet, formerly of Top Chef Boston and now Executive Chef at Departure, a trendsetting Asian fusion restaurant in Portland, Oregon, and I originally saw it on NomNomPaleo.

Be aware you will want to eat these things like candy. Make a double or triple batch. Trust me on this.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 medium carrots, grated and squeezed of juice (final volume: 1½ cups shredded carrots)
  • 1½ cups almond flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1½ teaspoons five spice powder (if you must, you can substitute pumpkin spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup local honey
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, and a bit extra for greasing the muffin tin if not using paper liners
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

Equipment

  • Muffin tin
  • Paper muffin liners (optional)
  • Silicone liners (optional)
  • Grater or food processor
  • Cheesecloth or dish towel (I sacrificed an old dish towel, one of the thinner types, and it worked perfectly.)
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk

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Steps:

Heat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position, and take your eggs out of the fridge. It’s important that your eggs are at room temperature when you start blending the liquid ingredients, or things’ll get chunky.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Next, grate your peeled carrots by hand or in a food processor and place the shredded carrots in a doubled piece of cheese cloth or clean dish towel. (Trust me: paper towels will tear.)

Gather up the sides of the cloth and wring out the excess carrot juice. Yes, this process will turn your cheesecloth or dishtowel orange, but like I said, I used one of my older dish towels and ending up with orange on it even after going through the wash was okay with me. After all, since I planned to make these muffins every chance I get again, I might as well have something I can use over and over. Once the carrots are as wrung out as they’re going to get, set them aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, five spice powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well. Mix in the pumpkin, honey, almond butter, and melted coconut oil. (I’m not a can of coconut oil, so I used avocado oil and the muffins tasted just fine. If you want a little sweeter taste, you could substitute cashew butter for the almond butter, but it’s definitely not necessary.)

Again, make sure these ingredients are at room temperature, or the coconut oil will harden and clump up (if that’s what you choose to use). Not the worst thing in the world, but definitely annoying when your goal is a smooth batter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until combined.

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Fold in the grated carrots, and then fill your muffin tins about 3/4 full. Sprinkle sliced almonds and toasted pumpkin seeds on top before placing the muffins in the oven. (I didn’t bother to do this, and the muffins were fine. Adding almonds and pumpkin seeds would increase the nutritional content a bit, but not by much.)

Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the muffin tin 180° halfway through the cooking process. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the tops feel springy to the touch. Cool the tray on a rack for about five minutes, and then pop the muffins out and completely cool them directly on the rack.

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Store any uneaten muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They freeze beautifully, too! I try to let chilled muffins come up to room temperature before taking a bite, but to be honest, I sometimes usually can’t wait that long. Thankfully, they also taste great right out of the fridge.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m giving you a recipe that seemingly should be made during the fall, in the peak of pumpkin season. There are many reasons, amongst them, if you have a Paleo skeptic, make these, have the skeptic shove them in their pie holes and make loud yummy noises, then disclose that the delicious muffins are Paleo compliant.

Also, you can get great pumpkin puree all year round. You could also try sweet potato puree, you just might have to adjust the seasonings to get the taste right. Oh man, now you have to make test batches? Tell the family they didn’t come out and then eat them all yourself! Oh wait, you’re more selfless than that? You’re a better person than I am.

The third reason is because these muffins are really easy to make from scratch, and my seven-year-old loves to squeeze out the orange juice. I have to finish, but she feels like a big girl. This is an awesome dish to make with your kids! And they’re healthy! And the kids will see not all delicious things have to be loaded with sugar!

Have you made these? Did you stray from the batter above? Let me know in the comments!
* All photos courtesy of Creative Commons.

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