January 11, 2013

Earl Grey Carrot Muffins

The time has come for another recipe! One of my New Year's resolutions was to make something from every cookbook the hubs and I own. I decided to start with one of the books that I had never even opened before. The hubs and I have a collection of vegan cookbooks, partly because I used to be vegan (now just vegetarian) and partly because the hubs subscribes to a book service that sends him random books every month or so. The end result is several vegan cookbooks that are, shall we say, underloved.

Vegan recipes have the potential to be kind of gross. Tofu can be boring after a while, and if I'm being honest, I think that fake cheese tastes like plastic. However, there are lots of great vegan and vegetarian recipes that taste fresh and flavorful, and even my meat-loving husband agrees that they are satisfying and delicious. Since I don't like to cook with meat and can't stand the smell of seafood, we end up cooking vegetarian meals about 98% of the time in our house. I was definitely up for the challenge of finding a new vegan dish to experiment with.

Maybe it was the cold air outside or my desire to have the apartment smell delicious when the hubs came home from his week away in LA, but I decided to bake muffins from Cook, Eat, Thrive: Vegan Recipes from Everyday to Exotic. This is a great cookbook that has a lot of international dishes, from empanadas to cous cous to brioche. I bookmarked a lot of recipes to go back to, but I decided to kick off this set of recipes with muffins. The recipe for Earl Grey carrot muffins sounded intriguing and relatively simple, and since I love Earl Grey as a beverage, I wanted to see how they would turn out when put in a muffin.

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea (powder form- crush in a mortar & pestle or in a coffee grinder)
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt
*1 cup sugar
*1 cup grated carrots
*1/2 cup water
*1/2 cup vegetable oil

This recipe was simple enough. I heated the oven to 350 and quickly mixed all of the ingredients together. Technically, the book says to separate the ingredients across two bowls, but that has never made sense to me, so I put it all in one large mixing bowl.

I mixed the ingredients just long enough to get rid of any dry clumps and then promptly scooped the mixture into a muffin tin lined with baking cups. The recipe is supposed to yield 12 muffins, but I think I overfilled the muffin cups because I only had enough for 10. Close enough!

After the letting the muffins bake for 20-25 minutes, they were done! These turned out pretty well, and I loved their Earl Grey fragrance. These were also unexpectedly sweet, but this might be because I used sugar in the raw rather than white sugar. The end result was delicious! My only complaint was that the bottom of the baking cups were pretty oily, which I assume was from the vegetable oil. I don't typically like to bake with vegetable oil but since this was a vegan recipe, I couldn't use eggs. If I were to use this recipe again, I think I would substitute the eggs for the oil, but otherwise, I thought these muffins were pretty tasty as is. Yum!

Have any of you tried vegan baking before? What did you think of it?