Carrot Spice Muffin Recipe

Carrot Spice Muffins - nut free, egg free recipe

I love carrot muffins, but for some reason had never made any of my own.  I think some of my hesitation may have been due to a reluctance to grate “a whole pile” of carrots, which is what I thought it took to make carrot muffins.  I was wrong about that. It only takes a few carrots.  I regularly grate carrots for salads, so I know grating carrots is really no big deal.

Last month I was out and had a spice cake for dessert.  Well, that was it.  That cake lit a fire under me.  I had to figure out how to make carrot muffins that would create the comforting sensation I had while eating that cake.

It’s taken a number of tries to get these carrot spice muffins just right.  We’ve eaten a lot of carrot muffins around here the past six weeks or so. They were all good.  But I kept adjusting, because they weren’t quite right.

But this recipe?  It’s the one.  It’s just what I wanted my carrot spice muffins to be.  These muffins are light, yet satisfying, moist and full of rich, warm spice flavour.  These muffins are worth the effort I’ve put in to getting the recipe right.

Recipe Carrot Spice Muffins

As you read through the recipe, you will see that it requires both ground and fresh ginger.  No, it’s not a typo.  In the many trials for this recipe, I went back and forth between fresh and ground ginger, and the muffins were always missing something.  That is, until I decided to use both forms of ginger in the same batch.  That was the missing piece of the puzzle.  Using both forms of ginger hits just the note of spice I wanted.

This carrot spice muffin recipe is both egg free and nut free.


Recipe: Carrot Spice Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Carrot Spice Muffins


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup (165 mL) milk
  • ½ cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup (see recipe notes)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) plain yogurt
  • Zest of one large orange
  • Juice from one large orange (about ¼ cup, 60 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 or 4 large carrots)



  1. Preheat over to 375 F (190 C).  Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. In large bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, maple syrup, canola oil, vanilla, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice and ginger until well blended.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and add grated carrots.  Stir just until moistened. Over stirring the batter will make the muffins tough.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until tops of muffins spring back when lightly pressed with finger.
  6. Let cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Recipe Notes:

Use pure maple syrup, not maple flavoured table (pancake) syrup.  If you don’t have maple syrup, you can substitute with honey.


Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with coconut and chocolate chips

Banana muffins are my favorite muffins.  They have been for a long time.  Maybe it’s because they are so versatile.  Or maybe it’s because they are the perfect way to transform overly ripe bananas into a delicious snack. Either way, I really love banana muffins.

I’ve shared my basic banana muffin recipe in the past.  So maybe you wonder why I am posting another banana muffin recipe.  The reason?  I want to help out those who think that making good whole wheat muffins is difficult, or that whole wheat muffins are always really dense.  They aren’t.  Whole wheat banana muffins can be as light and fluffy as their white flour counterparts.

So how does one make light, fluffy whole wheat muffins?  The trick is in the mixing technique.   It’s important to really beat the wet ingredients so that lots of air gets added to the mixture.

I combine the egg, honey, canola oil and vanilla in a bowl and vigorously whisk the ingredients, until the mix turns from a thick dark golden yellow to a pale yellow liquid that looks airy.  This takes a few minutes when whisking by hand.

Before mixing (900x506)

Egg, honey, canola oil and vanilla before whisking.  This is not ready to use yet if you want light fluffy muffins. 

Light yellow mix (900x506)

After whisking for several minutes. See the pale yellow colour? Now the mix is airy and you can add the mashed bananas.

Now it’s time to add the mashed bananas and whisk again for another minute. What you get is a very light and airy mixture that almost resembles pancake batter.

Wet mixture (900x506)

Wet mixture after bananas are added and it is whisked a bit. Note how it resembles pancake batter and has lots of bubbles.

At this point, the wet mix is ready to be added to the dry mix.  Once the wet and dry ingredients are together, only stir the batter enough to moisten it.  Over stirring can cause the muffins to be tough.

The other reason I wanted to share another whole wheat banana muffin recipe is to introduce you to a great flavour combo.  Coconut and banana are tropical flavours that work really well together.  Add a bit of chocolate, and it’s a party in your mouth.  The coconut also gives the muffins a bit more texture and makes them a little heartier.

Recipe Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with coconut & chocolate chips

The other important thing when making banana muffins is using very ripe bananas.  That’s the source of the sweet banana flavour you love in muffins.  Green or just yellow bananas can’t bring that to muffins.  It requires bananas with lots of brown spots.  Which is great if, like me, sometimes you just don’t eat all your bananas quickly enough, and you find yourself with overly ripe bananas that aren’t appealing to eat as-is.  Whip them up into some muffins, and you will be a hero at your house.


Recipe:  Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

makes 12 muffins

banana muffins recipe with coconut and chocolate chips


  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup (120 mL) honey
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups mashed very ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly beat egg, honey, canola oil and vanilla until mixture appears light and fluffy. Add mashed banana and beat again.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Over mixing can result in muffins that are tough.
  5. Add coconut and chocolate chips and lightly fold into batter.
  6. Add liners to 12 muffin cups and pour batter into cups until ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the muffins springs back when lightly touched.


Dessert Recipe – Apricot Coconut Crisp

I think I have a new favorite dessert.  It’s this apricot coconut crisp.  Yes, it’s that good.

Apricot Coconut Crisp

My favorite dessert has always been apple crisp.  My mother makes the best apple crisp.  She still makes it for me when I visit.  Apple crisp is all about familiarity and comfort.

This apricot coconut crisp, on the other hand, is a bit exotic and tropical.  The apricots provide this dessert with vibrant colour.  The coconut gives the crisp topping a different type of crunch and pairs beautifully with the filling made from fresh apricots.  Apricot and coconut should be a classic combination, they go that well together.

Apricot Coconut Crisp

The inspiration for this crisp comes from these apricot coconut muffins from Flavour the Moments.  As I was savoring the muffins I made using that recipe, I just knew I needed to use apricots in a crisp and use coconut in the topping.  It’s definitely not my usual topping for a crisp, but it’s the right one for a crisp made with fresh apricots.

My original plan was to use unsweetened coconut in the topping.  I was out of unsweetened as I had used the last of it for the muffins, so I used some sweetened shredded coconut I had on hand.  As a result, I cut back pretty dramatically on the brown sugar in the topping; otherwise it would have been way too sweet.  The result was just right.  A nice amount of sweetness, great crunch, and flavour I love, love, love. If you use unsweetened coconut, you might choose to add more brown sugar.

My apricots were not as ripe as I would have liked.  I should have left them out on the counter for a couple of days before making the crisp.  As they weren’t very sweet, I opted to add some maple syrup to the filling.  If your apricots are very ripe and sweet, you might want to adjust for that and cut back a bit on the sweetener.

I’ve been baking a lot of crisps lately, like this strawberry rhubarb crisp and this apple rhubarb crisp.  Crisps are such a great way to use summer fruit.  In the past I thought of crisp as a fall and winter dessert, but I have changed my mind.  Crisps should be enjoyed all year.

Recipe:  Apricot Coconut Crisp

Apricot Coconut Crisp


Crisp Topping:

  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • ¼ cup softened butter

Apricot Filling:

  • 3 ½ cups peeled, sliced fresh apricots (about 14 apricots)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Make crisp topping – In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, sugar, coconut and oats. Stir in butter and mix until crumbly. Set topping aside.
  3. In a 1.5 quart (1.4 L) oven safe dish, add apricots. Stir in maple syrup. Sprinkle cornstarch and stir fruit to distribute evenly.
  4. Spread crisp topping over fruit, distributing it evenly.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden and crisp. Let cool a bit, but serve warm.

Dessert Recipe – Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts


Now that summer has arrived are you looking for easy-to-make desserts to serve at family gatherings? These chocolate ganache raspberry tarts fit the bill. Not only are they easy-to-make, they also look elegant and will likely leave your guests thinking that you slaved away in the kitchen to make them.

Chcolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts

Chocolate and raspberry is a classic combination for a reason. They taste great together. The chocolate ganache is rich, smooth and melts in your mouth. Don’t you love the sparkle the sugared raspberries add? This was my first time sugaring raspberries, but I will totally do that again, as I love the look.

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts

When I was researching how to sugar raspberries, every recipe I saw called for using egg white on the berries to get the sugar to stick. As they don’t get cooked, I did not want to do that. I’m not a big fan of using raw eggs in my food. I improvised instead. I mixed a bit of granulated sugar with a bit of water, creating some thick syrup. I lightly coated the berries with the syrup, and then rolled them in sugar. It did the trick, and there are no raw eggs in these tarts.

I opted to take the time to sugar the raspberries, as I wanted them to look special. Plain raspberries could be used instead, to reduce the amount of sugar and/or to save a bit of time. That said, sugaring the raspberries is not difficult. It just requires some time to allow them to dry before placing them on the tarts. When selecting your raspberries, choose the firmest ones, as they will hold up best to the sugaring process.

I took one shortcut with these tarts that saved me a lot of time and effort. I used frozen tart shells. You could make your own pie crust if you wanted. Unless I am baking a large batch of pies, I usually use ready-made ones.

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts

These chocolate ganache raspberry tarts are elegant and taste great. They are also a decadent treat.  They are a good choice for a special occasion. I will make some again next week when our family gets together to celebrate Canada Day. They would be a great addition to a Fourth of July get together too.


Recipe: Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tarts


• Granulated sugar
• 12 fresh raspberries, washed and patted dry
• 12 tart shells (I used frozen tart shells)
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup milk chocolate chips
• ½ heavy cream (I used table cream, 18%)


1. Sugar the raspberries. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, dissolve a bit of granulated sugar in a small amount of water, to make a thick syrupy mixture. On a dry plate, pour some granulated sugar. Coat each raspberry with the syrup, and then roll raspberry in sugar, to cover all sides. Gently place the raspberry on the parchment paper to dry. Let dry completely, at least one hour.
2. While raspberries are drying, place tart shells on baking sheet to thaw. Prick the dough with a fork in several places on bottom and sides before baking, so crust doesn’t bubble. Bake according to package directions. Let tart shells cool completely before filling, at least 30 minutes.
3. Make the chocolate ganache. In a medium size microwave-safe bowl, place semi-sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips and cream. Heat in microwave on medium-high for 60 seconds. Stir until chocolate chips are melted, smooth and totally blended with the cream.
4. Pour ganache into the tart shells, filling to top edge. Let ganache settle and cool for about 15 minutes.
5. Place one raspberry on top of each tart, in the centre.
6. Serve and enjoy the oohs and ahhs when your family/guests see the tarts.

Recipes: Rhubarb Crisp Two Ways

Rhubarb Crisp Two Ways

Greg’s favorite dessert is strawberry rhubarb pie.  My favorite is apple crisp.  I had a lot of rhubarb on hand, and decided to make a dessert that combined both of our favorites and make some strawberry rhubarb crisp.

My first effort was not good.  not. good. at. all. I tried to adapt my mother’s strawberry rhubarb pie recipe and it was way too sweet.  And soupy.  Even Greg thought it was too sweet, but he did finish it.

For my second effort, I wasn’t sure if I should add strawberries or apples to the rhubarb crisp.  So I made one of each.  Persistence (and lots of rhubarb in the fridge) pays off.  My second effort was just right.  Both the strawberry rhubarb crisp and the apple rhubarb crisp were excellent.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Crisp Two Ways

Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic pairing, and for good reason.  The sweetness of the strawberries takes a bit of a bite out of the rhubarb’s tartness.  The crisp topping provides some crunch, but also gives it a second kind of sweetness, from the brown sugar, that complements the sweetness from the berries.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Crisp Two Ways

Apple and rhubarb are not a traditional pairing at all.  I don’t think that I have seen recipes combining them, possibly because rhubarb is in season in the spring, while apples are an early fall fruit.  It turns out that apple and rhubarb do play nice together.

For this crisp, I used twice as much apple as rhubarb, as I didn’t want the tartness of the rhubarb to over-power the more delicate apple flavour.  I also selected a sweet apple (Royal Gala) to balance the rhubarb.  The final trick up my sleeve though was my sweetener.  I mixed in a bit of maple syrup with the fruit.  The result?  Delicious!

Finding Rhubarb

It’s still rhubarb season in my part of the world so there is time to enjoy these delicious seasonal desserts. If you don’t have a rhubarb patch of your own, ask among your neighbours.  Maybe someone has some and would be willing to share.  If not, and if you are not able to find rhubarb at your grocery store, head out to your local farmers market.  That is often the best place to get your hands on some fresh, crisp rhubarb.


Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


Crisp Topping

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup quick cooking oats
  • ¼ cup softened butter


  • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Make crisp topping – In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, flour and oats. Stir in the butter and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup brown sugar with cornstarch.
  4. In a 1.5 quart (1.4L) oven safe dish (or in an 8” x 8” cake pan) add rhubarb and strawberries. Mix in dry ingredients from step 3 and combine thoroughly.
  5. Spread crisp topping over the fruit, covering evenly.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top golden and crisp. Let cool somewhat, but serve warm.


Recipe: Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Apple Rhubarb Crisp


Crisp Topping

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup quick cooking oats
  • ¼ cup softened butter


  • 1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb
  • 3 cups (about 3 apples) peeled and sliced apples (I used Royal Gala)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Make crisp topping – In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, flour and oats. Stir in the butter and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
  3. In a 1.5 quart (1.4L) oven safe dish (or in an 8” x 8” cake pan) add rhubarb and apples. Stir in maple syrup.
  4. Sprinkle cornstarch and stir fruit to distribute evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and mix.
  5. Spread crisp topping over the fruit, covering evenly.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top golden and crisp. Let cool somewhat, but serve warm.


If you are a fan of rhubarb, you might also like these Ginger Rhubarb Muffins.

What is your favorite way to eat rhubarb?


Recipe: Ginger Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

Ginger Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

I’ve confessed my love (obsession?) of muffins in the past.  Muffins are my version of the perfect food.  These ginger rhubarb muffins are my newest version.

I picked up some rhubarb at the farmers market a week ago, and I’ve been experimenting since then.  It took a couple of tries to get these muffins right.  One of the keys to my success was using crystalized ginger, not fresh ginger.

Crystalized Ginger

I had some of this type of ginger in my baking cupboard (yes, I have an entire cupboard dedicated to baking supplies) for a cookie recipe that I never got around to making over the winter.  The fresh ginger wasn’t doing what I wanted it to in my first try at these muffins, so I opted to try this.  I had never used crystalized ginger.  I cut off a small piece to sample before starting my baking, and was pleasantly surprised.  This version of ginger has more heat, but is also sweeter than fresh ginger.  It’s quite lovely, actually.  I think it would be divine with chocolate.  Ah, but that is a recipe for another day.

I love rhubarb.  It’s so tart.  And crunchy.  And delicious.  It transports me back to my childhood.  I was so happy when I found it at the farmers market, and very determined to get these muffins right.

Ginger Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

Did you know that rhubarb is actually a vegetable?  It is the edible stalk of a plant.  Botanically, that makes it a vegetable, even though in practice we use it like a fruit.

In raw form, rhubarb is extremely tart.  I love it that way, dipped in a bit of sugar – my childhood memories at work.  The flavour mellows when cooked.

You will want to use a sharp knife when chopping the rhubarb.  The skin is quite stringy, and a sharp blade is needed to cut through it cleanly.

I’ve given these muffins a crumble topping, to please Greg’s sweet tooth.  I made some without the topping, and enjoyed them just as much (maybe even a bit more).  If you want a muffin that is a bit sweeter, go for the topping.  Omit it for less sweetness.  The ginger flavour will be even more pronounced if you don’t add the crumble topping.


Recipe: Ginger Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

Made with whole wheat flour and filled with fruit, these muffins are a hearty snack. The ginger and rhubarb pair very well, giving this snack muffin great flavour.  Chop the rhubarb into relatively large pieces, about the size of fresh cranberries.  This will allow you to really taste and see the rhubarb pieces as you eat the muffins.   

Ginger Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping


Crumble Topping

  • ½ cup (125 mL) quick cooking oats
  • ¼ (60 mL) cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon  (2 mL) ground ginger
  • 1 ½  tablespoons (22 mL) softened butter

Muffin Batter

  • 2 cups (500 mL) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) ground flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) salt
  • 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) packed, finely chopped crystalized ginger
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) canola oil
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) liquid honey
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup (375 mL) chopped rhubarb


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Make the crumble topping – Add oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and ground ginger to a small bowl. Stir together. Add softened butter and crumble the mix together, using your hands if necessary. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and crystalized ginger.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, yogurt and egg.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into bowl of wet ingredients. Stir until partly moistened. Add rhubarb. Stir gently until mixed. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough. The batter will be very thick.
  7. Place batter into muffin cups. Spread crumble topping over each muffin.
  8. Bake 17 to 20 minutes until muffin tops spring back when lightly pressed with finger.

Cranberry Muffins with Crumble Oat Topping

Cranberry Muffins with Crumble Oat Topping

I made cranberry muffins several times this winter, using a few different recipes.  This one is my favorite.  By far.

These cranberry muffins with a crumble oat topping are a variation on my orange blueberry muffin recipe.

Cranberries are often a winter ingredient, but I had some in the freezer that were calling out to be made into muffins.  This recipe was so successful, that on my next grocery trip I will buy more cranberries.  This recipe is a keeper and I will make it year round.  These cranberry muffins are just too good to reserve exclusively for winter.

Cranberry Muffins with Crumble Oat Topping

These muffins are moist and packed with flavour.  The cranberries are a bit tart, which is balanced out by the cinnamon and ginger.  Yes, I added fresh ginger to these.  I really have been on a ginger kick for the past year or so.  The more I use it, the more things I think should have ginger.  The really nice thing in these muffins is that although the ginger definitely gives them flavour, it’s not obvious that it’s ginger.

I gave these cranberry muffins a crumble oat topping.  This gives them an extra bit of sweetness without going over the top.  I would probably add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped pecans if Greg wasn’t allergic to tree nuts.  The pecans would give them a bit of crunch. However, they are just as good without the topping, if crumble oat topping just isn’t your thing.

My sister arrived at my house five minutes after I took the muffins out of the oven.  She taste-tested them and gave her seal of approval.  So did Greg.

These cranberry muffins with crumble oat topping get three thumbs up.

Recipe:  Cranberry Muffins with Crumble Oat Topping

Cramberry Muffins with Crumble Oat Topping


Crumble Oat Topping:

  • 3/8 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

Muffin Batter:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Zest from one orange
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup liquid honey
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Balkan style)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cranberries, frozen or fresh


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oats, sugar, cinnamon and butter to make oat crumble. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together zest, orange juice, ginger, oil, honey, yogurt and egg. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add cranberries and stir until evenly distributed in batter. The batter will be very thick. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough.
  6. Scoop batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle with oat crumble topping.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until muffin top springs back when gently pressed with finger. Let cool for several minutes in pan. Place muffins on wire rack to finish cooling.