These nut-free, coconut flour Carrot Muffins are not only the perfect healthy lunchbox treat but are also delicious for breakfast. I've also tested this recipe using cassava flour for those that need a nut and coconut free recipe. The muffins have a lovely soft texture. The carrot, mild spices and a little honey provides the perfect sweetness to the muffins. I'm sure your children will love them and the sultanas can be omitted if desired. This recipe has been child tested. My grandchildren loved them but my hubby did also, so we had to hide them from him (he loved the texture).
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Preheat oven to 170c (fan-forced). Line a large muffin tray with 10 muffin liners/wraps or grease with coconut oil.
Add the coconut flour (or cassava flour), arrowroot, golden flaxseed, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt to a food processor. Process for 8 - 10 seconds to mix and create a finer texture.
Add in the eggs, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and apple cider vinegar, blend for 15 seconds then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Scoop in the grated carrot and blend for 3 seconds only, just to distribute the carrot through the mixture but not chop up. Remove the blade and add in the sultanas and mix by hand. (If using cassava flour allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes as the fibre in the flour will soak up a little more of the moisture.)
Divide the mixture between 10 muffin cups and spread out evenly, then smooth the surface.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the muffins become firm on top. Allow to cool in the muffin tray for 15 minutes then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
The muffins can be served warm or cooled. Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature or 7 days in the fridge. The muffins freeze well and when frozen they are easy to pop straight into your child's lunchbox.
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is a low-carb flour that's an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. It can be used in soups, gravies and stews as a thickener and adds a boost of nutrition. Coconut flour may promote stable blood sugar levels and a healthy heart. In addition, it may have antibacterial properties and aid digestion and weight loss. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes, I used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic' and 'Red Tractor Foods' I like their finer texture.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Golden flaxseed meal is finely ground linseed. You will find it in many of my recipes. It is also a great egg substitute when mixed with water. Flaxseed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of carbs. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is the key force against inflammation in our bodies. Flaxseed must be stored in the fridge. I like to use golden flaxseed as it is lighter in colour, than the brown variety and produces a nicer colour to your baking.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Allspice is a dried fruit and gets its name from its flavour, which seems to be a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The fruit is picked when green and ripped in the sun, when dried they are brown and look similar to a peppercorn, it is then ground for use in cooking.
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
Apple Cider Vinegar is used extensively throughout my recipes due to its health benefits. When purchasing, look for raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar ‘with the mother’ it has a cloudy appearance. Avoid malt vinegars as they are made from barley and contain gluten.
This crunchy orange root vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. They are good for the eyes and improve night vision. You get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits from carrots, including cancer prevention, helps prevent infections and heart disease, protects teeth and gums and promotes healthier skin.
The sultana is a pale green oval seedless grape which has been dried. Sultanas are sweet and used in baking and eaten as a snack. Purchase naturally dried, preservative and oil free sultanas, organic is best.