Muffins are just a delight. An individual serving of carrot which is totally permissible as breakfast, simply because of the lack of frosting. Sneaky, I know. But I don’t make the rules, I just enjoy them. 

The extra little bonus you get with my Spiced Carrot Muffins is you are getting both a vegetable and two types of nuts in! Ok, I should probably stop touting these as some sort of health food, instead, I’ll extol their mood enhancing properties by the addition of all that warming pumpkin pie spice. Ground cinnamon or ginger would be lovely if you don’t want to mix your own or if in the UK, pay an exorbitant premium to have it shipped across from America. Here’s the recipe I use to mix my own (and once you’ve got your hands on a jar full, try my Pumpkin Pie Spice Baby Donuts too) – I would grind the whole spices myself but you can get away with ready ground versions if that is all you have:

Pumpkin pie spice recipe

Back to these muffins. Oh they are soft and sweet and spicy. The pecans in the muffin mix give a soft crunch and the pistachios on top give both a flash of glorious lime green and their own subtle spiciness. As carrot cake (in particular, this one) is one of my most favourite cakes in the world to eat, and for no less reason than for the cream cheese frosting, I simply had to add a secret dollop of cheesecake filling to each muffin to complete you carrot cake eating experience. My Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins are so moist with the softest crumb they last very well unlike a lot of other muffins so don’t feel you can’t make them if you don’t have 12 hungry mouths to feed at once. 

Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins-5

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Spiced Carrot Muffins
Soft and moist carrot muffins, studded with pecans and topped with spicy pistachios. And oh, don't forget the secret cheesecake filling!
Author: Just Jo
Ingredients
For the filling
  • 70 g full fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
For the muffins
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 180 g soft brown sugar
  • 25 g finely chopped pecans
  • 100 g coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 ml milk
  • 90 ml vegetable oil
To top
  • 20 g crushed chopped or slithered pistachios
Instructions
  1. Make the filling first - beat the cream cheese to slacken then beat in the icing sugar and the orange extract.
  2. Preheat oven to 200˚C and line a muffin pan with paper cases.
  3. Beat the egg, milk and oil together in a jug until well combined.
  4. In a large bowl, sift the flour, raising agents and spice then stir in the sugar and pecans. Make sure there are no lumps in the sugar - break them up with your fingers if there are.
  5. Stir the carrot into the flour to distribute it evenly throughout the mix and then pour in the jug of egg, milk and oil, stirring until only just combined. Remember, a few lumps are just fine in muffin making!
  6. Using an ice cream scoop is great to give even sized muffins and you want to fill the muffin cases half full leaving a few tbsp worth of batter in the bowl.
  7. Scoop a tsp or so of filling onto each muffin then use the remaining batter to cover the cheesecake filling. Sprinkle with
  8. Bake for 22 minutes (check at 20 and be prepared to leave them in for 25) until well risen and browned on top. If pressed towards the side, they will spring back but you'd need to avoid the cheesecake to check for doneness with a skewer.
  9. Cool for 5-10 mins in the tin before transferring to a rack (or your mouth!). These muffins keep very well for a couple of days.
Recipe Notes

You can use 1 tsp finely grated orange zest if you don't have extract for the filling.
2 tsp of ground cinnamon would be a lovely substitute if you don't have pumpkin pie spice to hand.

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