I have to pass through the bakery in Wegmans every time I head to the deli to buy my favorite "Just Turkey" meat. The Just Turkey is used to create my favorite tortilla roll ups with slivers of sweet red peppers, cucumbers, sprouts and baby greens. Just Turkey, the real name, is exactly what it implies...just turkey. No additives, no salt, just like you shaved it off a turkey breast. Since I buy it in small amounts every couple days to get it as fresh as possible, passing the bakery each time, I continued to spot a whole wheat carrot & apple muffin that was calling my name.
I usually don't buy baked goods, only because I obviously enjoy baking and creating my own, but I was so thankful I finally gave in. This wasn't one of the huge bakery size muffins, it was a normal size, and the simple name just sounded appealing, and even healthy to me. It had a streusel topping, but not a heavy, chunky, floury type. It was a crumbly, light, cinnamon streusel. The muffin was delightful! On my following trip to Wegmans, I bought another one...this time to pull apart and examine! :) I had to figure out everything that went into this divine morning muffin, because I was now on a mission to make my own. I did manage to eat my examination, it definitely did not go to waste!
My evaluation of the muffin revealed carrots, apples, currants, coconut and walnuts. I already knew it was whole wheat flour from the name. I stacked up my whole grains and muffin baking cookbooks, and began my search for something comparable that I could tweak with those ingredients. I had a fabulous carrot cake recipe that I've been making for 30 years, so knew if all else failed, I could use that with modifications.
It didn't take me long to find an almost identical muffin from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. The popular Morning Glory Muffin popped right off the pages at me, full of all the good, healthy ingredients I was looking for. The one I loved so much from Wegmans had all the ingredients chopped and grated very small, so that's exactly what I did for mine. Theirs incorporated currants rather than raisins, so I followed suit. With a couple modifications, I had my muffin!
The finished product...incredible, surpassing the muffin I was trying to emulate! Moist, delicate, full of fruit, nuts and veggies, lightly sweetened, and the addition of the cinnamon streusel topping was perfection!
I have to admit, these muffins did not go to any of my taste testers, and weren't given away either. I individually bagged each one and froze them all for myself! When ready to have one, I just take it out of the freezer a couple hours ahead of time, and it's like a fresh baked muffin each time. A bit selfish, I know, but my Carrot & Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins were just too good. Next batch, I'll share...promise! ;)
Until next time...mangia! xox
Carrot & Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen muffins
for the muffins:
1/2 cup zante currants
2 cups traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups carrots, grated
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated (I used a Honey Crisp apple)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ (optional)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the cinnamon streusel topping:
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
Create the Carrot & Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with cupcake papers and lightly coat the insides of the papers with nonstick spray. (See Carol's notes below.)
Put the currants in a small bowl and cover them with hot water; set aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut and walnuts. (Add sunflower seeds or wheat germ if using. I did not use either.) In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Drain the currants and stir them in.
Add all the streusel topping ingredients in a food processor or mini-prep processor. Pulse until crumbly. You can also use a fork or your fingers and "smoosh" all the ingredients together in a bowl until crumbly. I used a Cuisinart mini prep processor, which works perfectly for this small amount.
Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin or cupcake papers, leaving enough room to add the streusel topping. They'll be almost full, that's ok. (See Carol's notes below.) Add 1 tablespoon of streusel topping to each muffin. Bake the muffins until nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Don't overbake. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a rack.
If interested - for the muffin cups I used Welcome Home Brands free standing pleated muffin cups. They are a little larger than regular pan size muffins, so I made only 11 muffins, rather than 12 - and no pre-greasing or spray coating is necessary. I filled them approximately 3/4 full, then added the streusel. They are free standing, so I sat them on a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven to bake. I purchased them at Wegmans, and also found them online at Amazon. I love these things! They have a great rustic, professional bakery look! I also used the bread loaf pans in my Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf post found here.
If you don't like coconut, use drained crushed pineapple instead.
Bake a day ahead, they're even better the next day after all the good ingredients marry!
Recipe source: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook (with slight modifications)