Gluten-Free Heirloom Carrot Muffins

September 11, 2012

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Fall: The Baking Begins

When the air starts to turn crisp and cool and the days begin to shorten, my baking instincts rise to the surface in full-force! I love the homey, comforting feeling as the scent of gluten-free baked cookies, breads, muffins and pies fills the house and the air blows cold outdoors.

Although we are not quite at the cold air stage here in California, I am easing back into my baking, in small steps, every few days.

On a recent trip to our local Farmer’s Market, my eye caught sight of a ledge of gorgeous heirloom carrots. I was enthralled by their deep purple, pale gold and vibrant orange colors! I bought armfuls and happily brought my treasures home to roast, sauté and to shred into salads.

Their beauty – as well as my “baking sprites” urging me on – inspired me to create a carrot muffin to celebrate autumn, back-to-school and cooler weather.

Here’s to cold air, warm homes and delicious baking ahead!

Gluten-Free Heirloom Carrot Muffins

These muffins are moist and bursting with flavor. Your home will be filled with the sweet scent of warm spices – just in time for the crisp, Fall weather!

3 cups grated carrots, an heirloom combo of orange, yellow and purple or all orange

¼ cup unrefined organic sugar

1 cup pecans

4 tablespoons Earth Balance soy-free spread, or butter

2/3 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ cup tapioca starch

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from a medium-sized orange)

5 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup orange juice (from the medium-sized orange used for the zest)

3 tablespoons unrefined organic sugar

¼ cup organic raisins (optional)

How to make Gluten-Free Heirloom Carrot Muffins:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.

(Alternatively, you can oil each muffin tin and coat with a bit of tapioca starch, shaking out excess. If you choose this method, when muffins come out of the oven and cool in the pan for ten minutes, you will need to run a sharp, thin knife around each muffin and gently nudge them out of the pan to finish cooling on a rack)

Mix the grated carrots with 1/4 cup of sugar and let rest for 20 minutes. Drain off the liquid from the carrots in a sieve, pressing the carrots against the sieve with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Set aside.

In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans until they are fragrant, stirring and watching carefully to avoid burning them. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop them and set aside.

In a small saucepan, cook the Earth Balance on medium heat. When it starts to bubble well, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking until the spread turns a deep golden color, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the heat into a small bowl and allow to cool.

Into a medium bowl combine the almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, tapioca starch and grated orange zest. Whisk gently to mix the ingredients together well.

In another bowl, whisk the cooled Earth Balance spread, the vanilla, the brown sugar and the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Alternating, add the dry ingredients and the orange juice to the butter-sugar mixture, blending just until it’s incorporated.

Add in the drained carrots, pecans, and raisins, if using.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.

Stir in 1/3 of the whites into the carrot batter to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated.

Divide batter between 2 prepared muffin pans to about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins feel firm when gently pressed and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then remove from pans to finish cooling on a wire rack.

These muffins are delicious as is, or with your favorite spread. Wrapped individually and placed in a freezer bag, these freeze and defrost beautifully.

Makes 16 gluten-free, gorgeous and delicious muffins.


I’ve been gluten-free for over 10 years now so, as you might imagine, I have many gluten-free baking books on my bookshelves. However, the one that I regularly turn to for no-fail technique is “Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America” by Richard J. Coppedge Jr., C.M.B.

If you are in any way into gluten-free baking, you will appreciate the tips, expertise and detailed secrets the chef shares in this book. It has brought my gluten-free baking to a new level and I combine many of his techniques with my own recipes successfully. I highly recommend it.



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carajean May 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Thanks so much for your response, Michael! Yes, I finally started chilling the seeds after I read that on Swwaolltail's website. We'll see how it goes. At $9 a pop for a Foxy plant, I can't go too crazy. My local nurseries should be getting Delph plants soon but I was hoping it wouldn't be so pricey. I will try your method exactly and hopefully have some luck – I'll keep you posted, thanks so much!

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