Thursday, February 26, 2009

carrot-ginger muffins, with a twist (or two)

I'm having one of these puppies with a cuppa Rooibos as I write - I just can't keep my paws off 'em. Forgive me if there are some crumbs and/or drool that pop up on your screen.

Man oh man, I've been craving carrot cake something fierce for a while now (and I'm not even pregnant, I promise). I've also been trying to incorporate ginger into our diet more and more, as I've read a bit about its anti-congestion properties. Since all four of us are either fighting colds or allergies around here (the sugi, Japanese cedars, are really bad for hayfever at the moment), I figured a little extra ginger wouldn't hurt and might even help. My little brain-wheels got turning, and I thought, Hey, why not carrot-ginger muffins? Sure enough, when I googled it, there were quite a few recipes along that line. My favorite was this one from cookthink, and what I based my muffins on.

Of course I tweaked 'em a bit:

  • I've never checked in detail, but I'd be willing to hedge a bet that plain old Japanese white bleached flour is more expensive than organic whole-wheat flour in the US. So though the recipe called for part white and part whole-wheat, I just went with all white. I know. Not the healthiest, but I didn't have time, energy, or resources to go searching for whole-wheat flour at some specialty shop (you can't get it in grocery stores here).
  • My powdered ginger expired in 2003. No lie. So I finished it up for this recipe, and because I'm sure it lost its potency somewhere around the beginning of 2004, I added some grated fresh ginger as well.
  • I added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Ditto for 2 tablespoons molasses.
  • Instead of the ground cinnamon, I added 1/2 cup cinnamon chips that my friend Kim up in Saitama sent me recently. Kim, you rock, girl! I'd never tried them before but they added such nice intense pockets of gooey cinnamoniness.
  • I didn't use baking cups - I just oiled my muffin tins and they came out just fine after they'd cooled a little.
  • Didn't have allspice, so just used a bit of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (which is what a subsitution I found said to do). I'm not a big clove girl so I didn't add much of that. (After getting my wisdom teeth out at 18 and having infections that seemed to go on forever, the doc stuffed my newly acquired toothless holes with gauze that had been soaked in some kind of clove-tasting medicine gunk. Needless to say, I haven't been much of a fan since.)
  • I didn't do the buttery, sugary, cinnamon topping the recipe called for because I had tasted the batter and it was already sweet enough, even after halving the brown sugar from 2 cups to 1 cup. (I used Okinawan "black" sugar, which is very molasses-y and very yummy.)
  • This made way more than the 12 muffins it said it would - I also got 3 mini loaves out of it and sent 2 with Stephen to work (not that any of his colleagues were complaining).
These babies got raves and a 10/10 from this clan.

Do you like my rice-cooker lid and my drainboard?

17 comments:

K and S said...

yummy..the whole wheat flour (which I've seen at seijo ishii or tokyu hands) is really takai! I've been adding ground flax seed to my white flour. love your tweaks to the recipe though!!

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

K and S, it's SO takai! I have bought it at Tokyu Hands and occasionally at FBC from the shop on Rokko, but it's just beyond my budget now. It's outrageous! Where do you buy flax seed?

K and S said...

I've bought it on one of my trips home (Hawaii) and keep it in my freezer.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Yappari ne! From Hawaii! :)

K and S said...

It is that Bob's Redmill? (is that right?) brand.

Since the weather is still cool, I can send you some if you want. I still have quite a bit in the freezer.

Joan Nova said...

Abigail - if you weren't in Japan, I'd pop over for a cup of tea and one of these delicious muffins. P.S. New blue screen on home page? I couldn't read post on your blog but saw it in my google reader.

Ivy said...

Your muffins looks nice and moist and sound delicious.

duodishes said...

Nothing wrong with a few changes. It makes the recipe your own. They look quite yummy.

Reeni♥ said...

Those look so scrumptious!! I love those cinnamon chips, yummmm!

Fuji Mama said...

Ok, now you've got me drooling too! YUM!!

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Joan - Thanks for letting me know about that blue screen - it keeps doing that lately since I bought mamatouille.com and I don't know why! Come on over for some tea and muffins anytime! :)

Ivy - They were so moist! Yum! :)

Duodishes - I always change recipes! I just can't help myself! :)

Reeni - You are the queen of cinnamon! :)

Fuji Mama - We can drool together! Come one over and have a muffin! :)

Maggie said...

The black sugar sounds interesting. I'm always sneaking in a little extra molasses in recipes that call for brown sugar.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Maggie - I'm a molasses girl, too! Yum. :)

Kim said...

Wow! Those look yummy! I used some cinnamon chips in some banana pancakes this morning! Mmmmmm! Did the "raw" ginger at a hot kick to the muffins, by any chance? Do you read Kayotic Cooking? She just posted a ginger cookie recipe with chocolate and...lots of other yummy things in it.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Kim - banana pancakes sound yummy! I didn't have enough raw ginger to add much of a kick - I was almost out! I'll go check out Kayotic Cooking's cookies - I think I might've seen them already but I can't remember. They sound really nice.

Heather said...

I'm sorry, but it's just not carrot cake without cream cheese frosting. These muffins are far too breakfast-y and healthy. Frosting, I tell ya!

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Heather, I think I've partly lost my sweet tooth living over here in Japan - I cut the sugar in desserts at least by half and don't do much sugary topping! You can only buy powdered sugar over here in minuscule packets that cost a fortune, so that's another reason I didn't do cream-cheese frosting, but you're right, it would've been lovely. :)