I made muffins out of a whim. It has carrots, pineapple, a touch of oats, whole wheat flour, egg whites, and agave nectar in it. Oh, and a dash of cinnamon and ginger, and an ocean of my love.
If you’re wondering where the butter and the sugar are, there aren’t any. And I adore them just the same.
And then I gave it my family to eat.
My brother J- says: It tastes too healthy! (What does that even mean!)
My Mother says: It’s definitely better than most of the whole wheat muffins I’ve had. (Good enough for me. Sometimes my Mother is hard to please.)
My baby brother W- isn’t very picky, so he thinks the muffins are okay.
My Father says: It’s okay, but not as flavorful as your usual muffins.
Oh well, that’s more for me then!
But then my brother K- says: Ooooh. It’s actually quite pleasant! (This is why I have always loved K- just a touch more than my other brothers. Kidding!)
Well to him I give one more muffin. Or you know, as many more muffins as he wants.
There’s a reason why I am calling these my Happy Day Muffins. It’s just that eating them makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. I love how rustic they look, with the lump of a lovely yellow pineapple peeking from the top. Literally like the sun coming up from behind mountains, or hills might be more apt since the bumps are lower. I made the right choice with the orange-coloured liners, because it really rounds up the whole look! Now every time I wake up, I think about these muffins. I think about their lightly sweet flavour, imparted by the pineapples and the agave nectar, although I wish there was more pineapple flavour in there since it’s one of my favourites. I think about the moistness as I bite into the muffin, and come away with bits of carrots and pineapple on my lips. I think about the heartiness of it, and how filling just one piece of muffin is, especially when eaten with fruit, yoghurt, or just coffee.
Sometimes it’s nice to break away from all the grease and the sugar, to be able to enjoy the same things with less guilt and more healthfulness. This started out as an experiment, something I tried out to use up the egg whites left over from making ice cream. But I am beyond glad that I did. I never expected to like it this much, even though most of the household does not. What started out as an impulse baking foray in the wee hours of the morning turned into something delightfully therapeutic. I especially loved making the egg white-agave nectar-milk mixture. The silkiness of it reminded me of clouds, like pouring magic clouds into flour.
Wholesome Carrot Pineapple Muffins (a.k.a. Happy Day Muffins)
adapted from Bella Eats | Makes 12 to 15 muffins
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoon oat bran*
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup skim milk or 2% milk
1 1/3 cups grated carrots, lightly packed
3/4 heaping cup diced or crushed pineapple**
12 chunks of fresh or canned pineapple, about 1 x 1 x 1/2 inch in size
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray, or use liners.
2. Sift together the flour, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a medium bowl and make a well in the center.***
3. In another medium bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer set at high speed, beat the egg whites with all the agave nectar until soft peaks form.
Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the milk.
4. Pour this mixture into the flour well and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in the carrots and the diced pineapple.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling almost all the way full. Top each muffin with a pineapple chunk, pressed halfway into the batter.
6. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed with a finger, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the inside of the cups to release the muffins, and remove from the cups. (Let cool on a rack if liners were used.) Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.
To freeze: Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the muffins in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. They should keep for up to 3 months.
* I did not use oat bran, simply crushed rolled oats.
** I may try to bump this up some next time.
*** I skipped the sifting part completely, which is why my muffins are not as smooth looking as they could have been. Also, consider making a large, deep well, since the egg whites you will be pouring in here will have tripled.
The muffins may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they certainly have been making my mornings very bright. Sometimes that is the only important part.