From Too Many Chefs -

April 6, 2005
Flax-topped Carrot Raisin Muffins

Have you had flax? Flax is one of the few non-seafood sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs laid by chickens that have eaten flax seeds is another.

These muffins use a nice flaxseed topping that give them a nutty flavor and a nice crunch element.

I was trying with this recipe to recreate a muffin that Seattle's Best in Chicago used to carry before they were bought up and closed by Starbucks. This isn't that recipe, but I'm pretty happy with them as nutritious breakfast muffins go. They're at their best once they've had a chance to cool.

You'll notice the muffins do not have the overflowing puffy muffin tops that most muffins get. The ingredients here are pretty heavy, and the leaveners in this recipe serve to lighten the crumb of the muffin, more than to lift it up. If you like, increase the flour to carrot/raisin ratio and add a bit more liquid for the flour to grab if you like the puffier muffins.

For the honey component, use any kind of honey you like. I was fortunate enough to have some of The Best Sunflower Honey in Paris, so that's what I used.

Flax-topped Carrot Raisin Muffins
1 3/4 cups AP Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups finely grated carrot (peel the carrot first)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup honey, plus some for drizzling
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup flax seeds
paper cupcake holders

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a 12-cupcake pan with paper cupcake holders. If you don't have these, grease the pan very well.

Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork in one bowl.
In a second bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Make sure the sugar is nicely distributed and broken up.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix together just until the wet and dry ingredients are well combined.

Spoon 1/12 of the mix into each muffin cup. Sprinkle a lot of flax seed on top of the muffins. It should cover the tops completely in a single layer.

Drizzle a bit of honey on top of each muffin to help hold the seeds together in place.

Bake in 400 F oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove to a wire cooling rack. After 5 minutes, remove muffins from baking tray and let cool at least 15 minutes in a wire rack.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at April 6, 2005 6:52 AM | TrackBack

What kind of flavor do the flax seeds contribute? Or is it just a texture and nutrition thing?

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 6, 2005 at 9:36 AM

Flax is a bit nutty and adds not just the seed texture, but a bit of flax oil to make the muffins more satisfying.

I wish I could locate those flax muffins from the former Seattle's Best stores in Chicago. I think they're locally produced and they had such a great flavor.

I know there's a brother-sister company here that does muffins for coffee shops and I think they may be the producers, but I can't find their name on the web.

Posted by barrett on April 6, 2005 at 10:04 AM

You're still a wonder with that camera. I wonder how the heck you can make good food look so bad.

Posted by Bryan on April 6, 2005 at 10:44 AM

Bryan, I think you're nuts. Those muffins look great to me. So far it's 1-1. Anyone else want to vote on whether these look awful or great?

I found, by the way, the original muffin I was trying to reproduce. It's from Little Miss Muffin in Chicago. A picture of the flat disk-like muffin they make is here.

Not much to look at, but they are delicious.

Posted by barrett on April 6, 2005 at 11:14 AM

I thought flax seed loses it's nutritional value when heated? Am I confused on this one?

Posted by Amy on April 6, 2005 at 5:44 PM

Amy, I wasn't aware of that, but a few Google searches would tend to back you up. Well, they still taste great.

I suppose you could add the flax at the end by mixing the seeds with honey and spreading the resulting mix on top.

Posted by barrett on April 6, 2005 at 6:34 PM

Looks like nobody wants to back you up, bud. I think that the artist must be ruled out of voting on their own piece. Certainly my own children are beautiful beyond compare to me.

I'll accept Meg in Paris as the final arbiter of all things photographically impaired or wonderful. The only other possibility would be cameras at noon. High Noon. Ya yeller bellied, Fun Bunchin, half blind, Enya luvvin, Anti-Ansel!

Posted by Bryan on April 6, 2005 at 7:10 PM

Barrett, as a fish-eating vegetarian I think you could also pick up those Omega-3 acids in fatty fishes such as mackeral and sardines and anchovies.

Otherwise, it might get a bit sticky!

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 6, 2005 at 7:10 PM

Bryan, I'm honored to be selected as an arbiter, having never even been called on to take part in a jury. However, I'm afraid I have to side with Barrett on this one - it's not such a bad photo. Trust me, he gets a little message from me regularly about the "bad photo is worse than no photo" rule so I'm not being prejudiced! This one is not so bad. I think you must be having an off day. Or maybe you have something against flax??

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 6, 2005 at 7:21 PM

That said, I'm not sure the photo warranted such a HUGE format...

; )

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 6, 2005 at 7:25 PM

It did. I've become convinced that if you can't see the photo, what's the point of having it there at all. We need to start making our photography big, bold, and beautiful.

Does anyone reading view TMC on 800x600 or smaller?

Posted by barrett on April 6, 2005 at 9:38 PM

Sigh. I can see when I've been beaten. On the other hand, her endorsement of the picture definitely does not merit big, bold or beautiful.

/just sayin'

Posted by Bryan on April 6, 2005 at 9:56 PM

I think they look and sound great! But did you know that to get the nutritional value from flax seeds, you have to grind them up ever-so-slightly? The hulls are too hard to be broken down by the human body, therefore keeping all that Omega 3 goodness from being absorbed. Just a quick zip through the blender breaks the hulls enough. I hadn't heard about the heat thing, though. That may render my entire speech useless! =)

Posted by Kelli on April 7, 2005 at 8:48 PM

I post a muffin recipe, I get an education on making Omega-3 available to the body and not destroying it. Thanks for the info Kelli!

Posted by barrett on April 7, 2005 at 10:06 PM

Dang Barrett. Somebody finally came through for you on this one. I'll go pretend to be dead on a desert planet until we meet again.

Posted by Bryan on April 7, 2005 at 11:51 PM