Best Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot muffins

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I looked in my veggie drawer today and found a bag of carrots! Should I make a French carrot salad from David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen? No! I craved something sweet, spicy, and with a hint of fall.  I found the answer to satisfy my craving (and use some of my bag of carrots) in this perfect recipe from Nom Nom Paleo’s blog, Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot Muffins.  These muffins have a special secret ingredient, Five Spice.  Five Spice is an Asian spice combo made of Cinnamon, Star Anise, Fennel, Cloves, and Szechuan Peppercorn.  My jar of Five Spice also had Ginger, Licorice, and White Pepper.  That’s more than 5 spices but who’s counting.  This sweet and savory spice mix adds just the right pizzazz to these delicious muffins.

Recently, Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo fame hosted a Pop up Paleo Brunch at the Departure restaurant in Portland, OR.  The chef of Departure,  Gregory Gourdet,  is a current contestant on this season’s Top Chef Boston.  He created this wonderful recipe and served it at the Pop Up Brunch.  These muffins are some of  the best muffins I’ve had in a very long time.

Best Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

3 large eggs at room temperature
4 medium carrots, grated and squeezed of juice (final volume: 1½ cups shredded carrots)
1½ cups almond flour, spooned and leveled
1½ teaspoons five spice powder (if you must, you can substitute pumpkin spice blend)
1 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ cup canned pumpkin purée
½ cup local honey
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, and a bit extra for greasing the muffin tin if not using paper liners
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

Equipment

Muffin tin
Paper muffin liners (optional)
Silicone liners (optional)
Grater or food processor
Cheesecloth or dish towel
Mixing bowls
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Whisk
Cookie scoop

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degree F.  Place the rack in the middle position of the oven. Make sure to remove the eggs from the refrigerator so that eggs are at room temperature when blending the liquid ingredients or the result may get chunky.

Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2.  Peel the skin off of the carrots.  Grate peeled carrots by hand or food processor.

3.  Place the freshly grated carrots into a piece of doubled cheesecloth or a clean dish towel.  Gather up sides of the cloth and wring out excess carrot juice.  Set aside for later.

4.  In a large bowl whisk together : almond meal, Five spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon, and sea salt.

5.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well.  Mix in the pumpkin, honey, almond butter, and melted coconut oil.  Make sure all these ingredients are room temperature to insure a smooth batter.  Cold ingredients could cause the melted coconut oil to harden and clump up.

6.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

7.  Fold in carrots.

8.  Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling them about ¾ full.

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9,  Sprinkle top of muffins with pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds.

10.  Bake muffins for 15 minutes.  Rotate muffin pan 180 degrees.  Bake an additional 15 minutes.  (Total baking time = 30 minutes).

11.  Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and tops feel springy to the touch.

12.  Cool the muffin pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

13.  Pop out the muffins and let them continue to cool completely on the wire rack.

Bon Appetit!

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