Carrot Cake Muffins

Muffins are often thought of as a morning delight or an afternoon treat that are not the healthiest. Think again! These carrot cake muffins bring whole wheat and veggies to your “not-so-good-for-me” pastry.

With the base recipe, nuts or dried fruit can be added to give it an extra pizzazz!

The recipe is adapted from a New York Times recipe.

~ 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
~ 2 teaspoons baking powder
~ 1 teaspoon baking soda
~ 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
~ 1 teaspoon nutmeg
~ 2 eggs
~ 1/3 cup brown sugar
~ 1/3 cup vegetable oil
~ 1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
~ 1 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit

1. Preheat oven to 375° with the rack in the upper third of the oven. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Using a whisk or spatula, stir in the dry mixture and mix until well combined. Make sure the flour is fully integrated into the dough. Fold in nuts or dried fruit, if you please. Fold in the carrots.
4. Spoon into muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly brown.

The muffins are best served right out of the oven when they are still warm but also save well for several days.


Peppermint Fudge

Looking for the perfectly decadent treat to share with guests or give as a gift this holiday season? Peppermint fudge is the perfect solution. Not only does it satisfy your sweet tooth, but it has a plethora of health benefits due to the peppermint. Peppermint is found to relieve stomach problems, tension headaches and nausea.

When you bite into this fudge, health is the last thing on your mind.

The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Foolproof Holiday Fudge. Depending on the desired intensity of peppermint flavor, the amounts can be adjusted accordingly.

~ non-stick cooking spray
~ 2 cups sugar
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
~ 1 cup milk
~ 2 cups marshmallows
~ 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
~ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
~ 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
~ 1/2 cup crushed peppermint

1. Grease 9-by-13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook sugar, salt, butter, milk and marshmallows over medium heat. Stir until butter and marshmallows are almost melted, about 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Boil mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is a smooth, even consistency.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle fudge with crushed peppermint.
5. Let fudge cool in the pan at room temperature for approximately 3 hours. When cooled, remove bars from pan and cut into bars.

The fudge bars are ready to serve or gift. You’ll be sure to get many compliments for these tasty treats!

If fudge doesn’t seem settled after 3 hours, try putting it in the fridge to help it solidify.

Are you a white chocolate lover? If so, the same fudge can be made using white chocolate chips instead of semisweet chocolate chips.