Cooking for Clara

Carrot Muffins

By • May 14, 2013 • 23 Comments

Merrill's baby Clara is finally old enough to eat solid foods. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, Merrill steps into the fray.

Today: A mother-daughter food ritual. And carrot muffins.

Clara eating carrot muffins

Clara and I have established our first food ritual. At nearly 16 months, she can now sit in a hard restaurant high chair for more than five minutes without trying to wriggle herself free, so that means that most Saturday mornings we head to a local cafe -- I get a large coffee and buckle her into a high chair, and we share a pastry or two. We try to stake out a spot near the door, strategically positioned so that Clara can greet each and every customer with a loud "Hi!" in between mouthfuls of croissant or pain au chocolat.

More: Clara's first sweet: Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love this time together, which is different from our time at home playing in her room, or when I'm pushing her on the swings in the park. Many of my best childhood memories involve food and family, and I hope this is just the first of many food rituals Clara and I will share. We try different pastries together, and part of the fun is seeing her reaction to each one. (There haven't been many unpopular items.)

Clara eating carrot muffins

Recently we got a blueberry muffin for the first time. A week later we sampled a lemon muffin. Both were met with great enthusiasm (not surprising, since they're basically cake), so I decided to make muffins at home. Using Ina Garten's delicious carrot cake cupcakes as a jumping off point, I reduced the sugar, used a mix of white and whole wheat flour and subbed in olive oil in place of some of the vegetable oil. This is a tender, flavorful carrot muffin that's not just for weekends. And it might even be the start of a brand new food ritual.

carrot muffins 

Carrot Muffins

Adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 22 Muffins

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup golden raisins (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

 

Tags: Cooking for Clara, muffins, carrots, raisins, carrot muffins, finger food, everyday cooking

Comments (23)

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6 months ago mawhorts

This recipe is fantastic, and has become one of my go-to recipes. I usually make the recipe as a cake instead of as muffins, and I serve it with creme fraiche sweetened with a dab of honey (or with Greek yogurt if I'm in a less decadent mood).

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about 1 year ago saltandserenity

Nothing to do with the muffins, but just have to say that Clara is adorable!! My babies are all grown now but I have many favourite food memories with all three of them. Enjoy this precious time.

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you!

Christinaconte_5535fw

about 1 year ago Christina @ Christina's Cucina

If you want even more Vitamin A and fiber, I came up with this recipe for Pumpkin Carrot cupcakes (which could probably be muffins without the cream cheese icing) with shredded coconut, which are one of my family's favorites: http://christinascucina...

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about 1 year ago Patricia Christianson

My baby daughter, now 15, made carrot muffins for her oldest sister's coffee shop today!

Monkeys

about 1 year ago monkeymom

Merrill, I have made literally hundreds of these muffins with similar modifications. The no dairy, no nuts, and the addition of whole wheat makes them a favorite of my son's for b-day treats. They work great if you use or mixer or mix by hand too and they keep pretty well for a few days. Also, they make great cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The recipe also works pretty well with zucchini! Can't wait to try your addition of brown sugar!

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about 1 year ago rfisman

Would these freeze well?

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I haven't frozen them myself, but I think if they're well-wrapped they would freeze just fine.

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about 1 year ago Elycooks

I have so many wonderful memories of food rituals with my mom. The first time we made bread together she let me knead the dough with my little feet, then happily agreed to bake the gray loaf. I don't recall eating it. On another note, I keep returning to the video of Clara eating yoghurt for a good laugh. Fun times!

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about 1 year ago lilmartha4

I just made these and they are WONDERFUL. This recipe is a keeper! Clara is just the cutest baby and lucky to have such a brilliant mom.

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you, and so glad you liked them!

Flower-bee

about 1 year ago Droplet

Clara's "Hi" would make my day (and the next one)the way no muffin could :)

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

It certainly makes my day!

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about 1 year ago Tatiana

Clara grows more precious and adorable by the day! I love that you've created this ritual food time with her. In middle age, I still have fond memories of the special times and rituals my mother shared with me as a child.

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you so much!

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about 1 year ago jenniferb

The intro is misleading saying the 16 mo is finally old enough for real food. If you follow Baby Led Weaing (BLW) or just don't subscribe to the "Gerber generation", babies are eating "real food" much earlier than 16mo and with great benefits. My 10mo old eats everything and I mean everything I do. No purées, no jarred food, no chicken nuggets.

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about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much -- and a good reminder to update that intro. Merrill actually has been feeding Clara "real food" from a very early age, and that was one of the focuses of her early columns. But now that Clara is 16 mos we should change the intro. And will do!

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

As Amanda said I started feeding Clara "real food" at about 6 months. You're right -- I should definitely update the intro to this column since it's now been 10 months! Amazing how the time flies.

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about 1 year ago jenniferb

I'm new to the site, so I wasn't familiar. Thanks for clarifying!

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Brilliant, the muffins sound wonderful. I am sure Clara loves them. I have to make them!

Merrill

about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you!

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about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

I love this post, Merrill. Love.

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about 1 year ago laurenlocally

Lauren is Food52's Director of Partnerships.

I ADORE it too!