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.
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit, plus more for greasing tin
- 2 cups (7 ounces) finely grated carrot
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 liquid cup honey
- 1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with butter. Toss the carrots with the lemon juice in medium bowl. Add eggs, butter, and honey to bowl and whisk to combine.
Whisk together whole wheat flour, cake flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger in large bowl. Add carrot mixture to bowl with dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until combined. Beat vigorously with wooden spoon for 30 seconds.
Fill wells of muffin tins a little more than halfway with batter. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the centers of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed with a finger tip.