SUGAR-FREE CARROT & CRANBERRY MUFFINS

I can’t stop eating at the moment. I think its the change in weather. Well…I say a change, in Scotland we live in a permanent state of grey skies and rain. We didn’t get a summer so maybe I’m just greedy! No matter the reason behind it, I just need to reign in the non-stop eating! Actually no, I don’t need to stop eating, I just need to stop eating so much crap. So I have been trying out different recipes for snacks I can nibble on that will fill me up, and won’t give me that sugar high, and resulting crash which ends up with me stuffing my face with brownies and crisps!

I have played about with this recipe for ‘healthy’ muffins for a while now and I think I’ve come up with something that is really tasty yet has no sugar. It also contains no gluten, if that happens to be an issue for you. I’ve had really positive feedback from friends who have tried them, many of which didn’t realise they were sugar-free. Mind you, I gave one to my mum to taste and she gave me a sneaky smile and said “Hmmm…it could do with a bit of sugar”, and I guess if you’re thinking of it as a regular muffin then yes, you might think that. However, there are dates and cranberries in there which give it natural sweetness.

I have made these with a good swig of date syrup stirred into the mix and that obviously made them a little sweeter, but I know that’s not something most people have in their kitchen cupboards. Although if you do see it, please try it. It is SO delicious. My personal favourite is this one from Meridian, which I get from Whole Foods. However, if you don’t live or work near a Whole Foods, you can also buy it on Amazon.

This recipe makes approx 12 muffins.

Ingredients
200g/7oz ground almonds
175g/6oz carrots, finely grated (and that’s 175g once they’ve been grated and any juice squeezed out)
200g/7oz overripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs, whisked
2tsp baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
80g/3oz dried cranberries
50g/2oz medjool dates, chopped
Pumpkin seeds to garnish

Preheat your oven to 160C (fan), 180C (conventional), gas mark 4and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and thoroughly stir together making sure everything is incorporated.

Take an ice-cream scoop and scoop up the batter and transfer to the muffin cases. One scoop is enough for each case. Then sprinkle each with some pumpkin seeds.

Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and and the centres spring back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

You can play about with these as you see fit. I sometimes add chopped toasted pecans to add a bit of crunch. On one occasion I gave into the sugar and sprinkled some demerara sugar on the top before I added the pumpkin seeds. This of course was delicious, but I left this off this post as I’ve had a lot of messages from people looking for sugar-free recipes. But you can add what you like. I hope you enjoy them!

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