Serious Eats: Recipes

Sunday Brunch: Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

If anyone else out there was obsessed with the Betsy-Tacy books as a child (and, okay, teenager), you'll understand why September puts me in the mood for muffins: Anna the cook always made them for the first day of school. I don't go to school anymore, but I still take stock and make plans after Labor Day. Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to sit down with a pot of tea and a plate of muffins, whether you're catching up with a friend or simply getting into an autumnal frame of mind.

This summer while I waited for a chai in a little bakery in Aspen, I watched a stream of customers (including myself) pass up the plain muffins in favor of those topped with tempting streusel. I pondered the pull of a buttery, cinnamon-scented crumb topping. Those muffins were irresistible. Although these whole wheat carrot muffins are smaller, humbler, and devoid of streusel, they're nothing to turn up your nose at; they are, in fact, perfect for nibbling without feeling like you're overdoing it. The recipe, adapted from a ring-shaped carrot cake in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible, yields moist little muffins full of carrot and distinctly scented with honey and spices.

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