So it’s that time of the week . . . kids cooking club. I’m always searching for new, easy, tasty, wholesome recipes to make with the kids. They run into class each week squealing at the top of their lungs “what are we making, what are we making!?!?” They usually clap with enthusiasm when told the secret recipe (especially when we’re making something sweet) and already start asking for seconds. The pressure’s on to keep them excited in the kitchen!
This week I thought it would be fun to make a lightened up carrot muffin. These muffins are full of fresh grated carrots, applesauce, ground flax seeds, and coconut oil. I also added lots of extras, like raisins, shredded coconut, and crushed pineapple. On top is a cream cheese and Greek yogurt frosting. The kids love piping, and the frosting usually turns out to be the same size as the muffin itself.
As I was looking for some inspiration to make a “light” cream cheese frosting, I was amazed by how many recipes there were that called themselves “light” but used a full stick of butter, heavy cream, or a cup of sugar to just a few small ounces of cream cheese. It’s really important to read a recipe carefully, ideally a few recipes, and figure out which one is best for you. Not all “light” recipes are really light.
The basics for this delicious and truly light frosting recipe came from Bianca at www.bsweetdreaming.wordpress.com who cleverly added Greek yogurt. I used a bit less yogurt here, so that the consistency would be firmer for these muffins, and added some vanilla extract. The best part of this frosting is that it doesn’t harden in the refrigerator, so you can spread it onto your muffin right before you eat it.
1-cup whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 egg, beaten
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup light agave
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup shredded carrots (I use the small holes on a box grater)
2-tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2-3 tablespoons raisins
¼ cup crushed pineapple, drained
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combined all the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork. In another medium bowl, combined all the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed. Do not over mix. Then fold in the carrots, coconut, raisins, and pineapple.
Coat a muffin pan with coconut oil cooking spray (or canola oil). Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin. Bake about 24 minutes. (You can also make 24 mini muffins and bake them about 10-12 minutes).
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. ⅓ less fat cream cheese
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1-cup confectioners sugar
Using a hand mixer, blend cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla. Then take a flexible spatula and fold in the sugar (I do this step so that the sugar doesn’t go flying out of the bowl). Then continue blending with the hand mixer until smooth. This only takes about 1-2 minutes.