I am a little obsessed with gluten-free banana carrot and date muffins. I often make them as a healthy mid-morning snack for everyone in my fam. So when I was thinking of what to serve for a New Year’s day brunch, I naturally thought of the muffins. The muffins are healthy enough for those who made resolutions (packed with fiber, no added sugar) and definitely tasty enough to serve a crowd, but I wanted something that was a little more of a treat. I love carrot cake, and these gluten-free banana carrot and date muffins are made with enough shredded carrots to justify calling them a healthy version of carrot cake. I added a simple, low-fat cream cheese frosting and a garnish of shredded carrots sweetened with maple syrup that I saw in Ina Garten’s recipes for carrot cake cupcakes. The result is beyond. I will only make this version for gatherings because the cream cheese frosting is pretty much irresistible.
Healthy gluten-free muffins made with almond flour are made a bit sinful with the addition of cream cheese frosting.
- 2 cups almond meal (such as Trader Jo’s almond meal)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 3 medium ripe bananas
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use low-fat)
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded or shaved carrots
- 3 tablespoons good maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients (dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil) in bowl of food process until smooth. Transfer wet ingredients to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined. Fold in carrots.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners, filling about 3/4 full. Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and store in air-tight container for up to 4 days.
- For the frosting, mix the cream cheese and vanilla in the gown of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combine. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
- For the carrot topping, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add the carrots and maple syrup and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the carrots have softened. Spread the carrots on a paper towel to drain and cool.
- When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and garnish with a big pinch of the carrot topping.