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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins

Sharon Muse

Have you ever just had a craving for something and couldn't get it off your mind? Well, that is how this week's recipe came about. Carrot cake was on the brain all week and instead of making a traditional one that is loaded with vegetable oil and refined sugar, we made a Sade & Celery version that is every bit as tasty! We also put them in muffin tins for portion control - this way, we weren't tempted to eat the entire cake.

The first thing we did was replace most of the vegetable oil with applesauce. Applesauce is a great way to cut down on unhealthy oils seen in lots of traditional baked goods. Then we swapped out the refined white sugar for coconut sugar. Coconut sugar (sometimes called coconut palm sugar) is better for you than white sugar. First, it is mainly made up of sucrose and only contains about 3-9% fructose. You definitely want to limit your intake of fructose as it is 100% processed through the liver and that can be taxing. Coconut sugar also has trace vitamins and minerals where white refined sugar has none. It has gut benefits and thanks to the fiber, inulin, it is more slowly absorbed by the body.

We, of course, used freshly grated carrots which are widely known for their beta-carotene content but they also boast a good amount of fiber, Vitamins A, C and K. They also have potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Then we took out regular all-purpose flour and in its place, we used ground oats (AKA oat flour). Oat flour is naturally gluten-free and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. So why wouldn't you want to use it instead of all-purpose flour?!

You may think that since we swapped out lots of ingredients, that these won't taste nearly as good as the real thing, but trust us, these muffins are delicious! And if you want to get fancy, we even provide a healthy option for icing! 

Makes 6 muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 T coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely grated carrots

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup oat flour **

Icing: coconut butter, melted and spread on top of each. Then sprinkle with cinnamon. (optional)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Then line your muffin pan with liners - you will only need six so if your muffin pan is for 12 fill the other 6 with a little bit of water before putting it in the oven.

2.) Shred carrots finely - if needed use a knife and cut them into even smaller pieces.

3.) In a large bowl, combine applesauce, coconut oil, and coconut sugar - stir to combine. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and shredded carrots, again stir to combine. 

4.) Add in the remaining dry ingredients and make sure all the ingredients are mixed together well.

5.) Evenly scoop out the batter into six muffin liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes. You can insert a toothpick into a muffin and if it comes out clean or has a few crumbs on it, it is done. 

6.) Allow cupcakes to cool before icing with melted coconut butter (optional).

**You can purchase oat flour or make your own. To make it, pulse oats in a food processor until finely ground.