I first discovered Date Syrup while perusing my local International Grocer. Since I had been on a raw-food-dessert kick, I was using A LOT of dates as a binder and sweetener. Lots-o-Dates can take quite a chunk out of the Ol’ Grocery Budget, so when I saw a jar of Date Syrup (ingredients: dates) for less than $5, I just thought “CHA-CHING! This is gonna save me the BIG BUCKS!!” When I was experimenting with this Carrot Cake Muffin recipe, the Date Syrup added a delightful richness that the low-carb sweeteners alone could not accomplish. Oooooooo I was so excited. I made multiple batches of the muffins to test amongst various groups of hungry people, and they were received with RAVE REVIEWS!!!
Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins are even KID APPROVED!!!
I high-tailed it back to the International Grocer to restock my Date Syrup stores and THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY!!! I went to the higher-end Grocery Store and was shocked that amongst their healthy-alternative-sweeteners, THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY, EITHER!!! Despite the protests from my pocketbook, I headed to the way-too-expensive HealthFoodStore, as a last resort. They carried a teensy, tiny jar of Date Syrup for over $7, that could barely make one batch of muffins. Unacceptable! Naturally, I chose to make my own date syrup (here is one online source for instructions), and the recipe turned out just as good.
I want to provide multiple options, depending on accessibility, time and money: these muffins can be made and are still SPECTACULAR!
**Just a friendly reminder: I REALLY hate to endorse/advertise for/insist upon specific brands of ingredients. In this particular recipe, I list Madhava AgaveFIVE specifically because the flavor is so nice and the carbs are SO acceptable. If you are not so concerned about carbs, by all means: use full-blown agave nectar or honey. My nutritional calculations are for the AgaveFIVE, though.
***I did not specify a specific protein powder to use, other than “Plain”. I don’t really want to participate in a this-vs-that protein powder debate… soy, whey, pea, sprouted brown rice… you choose what you like. These nutritional calculations are for sprouted brown rice protein.
****You can cut way back on the fat by substituting unsweetened applesauce for the coconut oil, but I am a BIG coconut oil and Good Fats Fan, so I choose to stick with the slightly greasy and good fatty version 🙂
Carrot Cake Muffins
(protein packed, grain free, no sugar, lower carb)
Soooooo Yummy and Energizing, Guilt-Free Carrot Cake Muffins!
¾ cup coconut flour
2 Tbs plain protein powder (optional)
2 Tbs flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
1 lb peeled and shredded carrots
½ cup raisins, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbs vanilla extract
½ cup date syrup
¾ cup Madhava AgaveFIVE (or full-blown-agave-nectar-of-choice)
½ cup bake-able stevia (the kind that measures 1:1 like sugar)
1 cup coconut oil, warm and liquidy
In a large bowl, combine the shredded carrots with ¼ cup date syrup, ½ cup AgaveFIVE sweetener and ½ cup bake-able stevia. Stir to evenly coat the carrots, then loosely cover and allow to macerate for at least 1 hour. Strain the carrots and gently press out the excess moisture. Discard or repurpose the liquid (you could use it for Chia Puddings or Overnight Oats!)
Combine the dry ingredients (coconut flour, protein powder, flax meal, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, allspice) and add it to the strained carrot mixture. Stir and fluff the carrots to evenly coat with the dry ingredients. Add the raisins and walnuts and toss a bit more to evenly distribute.
shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts tossed with dry ingredients
Blend together the remaining wet ingredients (eggs, ¼ cup date syrup, ¼ cup AgaveFIVE, vanilla, melted coconut oil) and then use a hand mixer to add to the carrot mixture.
Mixing can be tricky: note the solidified white coconut-oil iceberg… just do your best to mix it in!
*This can be a little tricky because coconut oil sometimes cools-off and solidifies, making big white chips in your batter mixture. Do your best to mix it all together and break up any white chunks that form.
Mix Mix Mix! Here, I am attempting to suck the solidified coconut oil chunks through the beaters…
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Fill the cups almost to the top. I like to gently smooth out the tops of the muffins into a little mound. These muffins don’t really rise, in the traditional sense, so this step is really just about the presentation.
For more photogenic muffins, shape the tops into smooth mounds before baking…
Carrot Cake Muffins, ready for the oven!
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until you can stick in a toothpick and pull it out clean.
Allow to mostly cool before serving.
Makes 24 muffins.
Fluffy, Moist, Sugar-Free, All Natural Carrot Cake Muffins!
These freeze well for future snacking, or you can store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about a week.
Nutritional Estimates for Carrot Cake Muffins, using AgaveFIVE sweetener and Sprouted Brown Rice Protein.