Multigrain Carrot Orange Spice Muffins

It's Easter Weekend, so I'm celebrating by baking muffins made with everybody's favourite rabbit food- the carrot.  I  assumed that the carrot/ Easter connection was obvious:  as a rabbit, the Easter Bunny eats carrots, so it follows that carrot decorations and carrot goodies abound during the Easter holidays.  While there's clear cultural truth to this, there's also more to the story, as I disovered after a quick google search. 

First,  rabbits shouldn't eat carrots because those pointy orange sugar rockets rot their teeth and cause them a whole host of  health problems.  But what I found more fascinating,  is that raw carrots were actually considered an Easter treat for British children during World War II.  The carrot on a stick was regularly enjoyed as a substitute for ice cream, especially at Easter.   Maybe I'll try it with my kids this weekend, take pinterest and instagram by storm.  On second thought, maybe not, seeing as my kids remember what actual ice cream tastes like.  

Children eating carrots on a stick during WW II Photo: Ghetty 

Children eating carrots on a stick during WW II
Photo: Ghetty 

There's something very comforting about a warmly spiced carrot confection, flecked with orange and studded with golden raisins, flavours my husband rightly calls, old-timey.   It's the type of treat to be enjoyed with a warm cup of tea and a few quiet thoughts.  So this weekend I plan to enjoy my old-timey carrot muffins with a few grateful thoughts for the real chocolate eggs my kids will find hidden around the house, for our life of abundance and peace, and for the reliable old carrot, who's always there when you need a little something sweet.  

This recipe was inspired by the Multigrain Carrot Muffins in the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook,  and also the Carrot Muffin Recipe in Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain.  The streusel topping is optional; you could also just sprinkle the tops with a bit more crunchy sugar.  I included golden raisins to entice my daughter to eat them, but you could easily leave them out or add in dates, walnuts, pumpkin seeds etc. 

1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup turbinado or other large grain sugar
1/3 cup hulled hemp hearts
1 1/2 cups grated carrot

1/4 cup unsalted butter, just melted
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup oats
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp turbinado or other large grain sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp of unsalted butter, cut in to 1/4 inch chunks

1/2 cup golden raisins or dates (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper or grease with butter. 

1.  In a large bowl, sift together flours, oat bran, brown sugar, spices, baking powder and soda. Stir in turbinado sugar, hulled hemp hearts and grated carrot.

2.  Whisk melted butter, yogurt, egg, orange juice and zest in a medium bowl.  Pour into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in raisins. 

3.  Let the batter sit for 10 minutes, while you make the streusel topping.  In a small bowl combine flour, oats, sugar.  Add the butter and work it in with your fingers until it's crumbly, but not sandy.  

4.  Generously scoop the muffin batter into the muffin tin, until cups are slightly mounded over the top.   Sprinkle a generous 2 tbsp of topping on to each muffin.

5.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top feels springy, a toothpick comes out clean and there's a hollow sound when you tap at the bottom.  Leave the muffins to sit in the tin for 5 or so minutes before attempting to remove them.  

Makes 10 to 12 muffins