My Carrot Macadamia and Cranberry Muffins are wonderful anytime of year, but especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. They came about one day when I had somehow accumulated a lot of carrots in my crisper and needed a delicious way to use them up before they started to go floppy. After a bit of searching, I found a recipe for carrot and nut muffins in my late Mom’s recipe box. However, the recipe did have a lot of sugar in it (a whole cup of the stuff!) and when push came to shove it was just another carrot nut muffin recipe. I got to thinking about ways I could reduce the sugar – after all carrots are one of the sweeter vegetables – and make the recipe a bit more exciting. I had some macadamia nuts in my pantry, and beside them were a package of Craisins – sweetened dried cranberries. Suddenly the idea of Carrot Macadamia Cranberry Muffins popped into my head and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Carrot Macadamia & Cranberry Muffins
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
a generous pinch of ground nutmeg
½ cup granulated sugar (I used golden granulated)
1 cup grated carrots (packed)
½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
½ cup Craisins or sweetened dried cranberries
grated rind of an orange
2 large eggs
½ cup mild olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C). Line 12 large muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and granulated sugar. Add the carrots, macadamia nuts, sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins) and orange rind.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the olive oil, vanilla and buttermilk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and stir to mix thoroughly but do not beat.
Divide the batter between the muffin tins. I use a quick release ice cream scoop to do this.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to turn golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tins and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.