Ok guys, I know you've been waiting for this recipe, right?
When I was thinking of a treat to make for Zeke's birthday last week, I knew I wanted it to be healthy, but super-dee-duper YUMMY!
We always have bananas, carrots and almonds in our home.
We use bananas to sweeten most everything, so I keep brown bananas in the freezer. At first, I thought of doing a whole wheat carrot cake (muffin-style) with no-sugar cream cheese frosting (I promise this recipe will be coming soon), but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted something a little different. We use a lot of almond in our daily lives (almonds, almond flour/meal, almond butter, almond milk, almond extract, etc) - it's a healthy fat, they're extremely satisfying and they're gluten-free (something that has become a huge issue in today's society).
This is what I finally came up with:
For the muffins:
Pre-heat oven to 375°
How to make your own almond meal/flour
Use whole, raw almonds in about 1/2 cup measurements
I use my VitaMix Dry Container for this, but you could use a coffee grinder (preferred) or a food processor for a more mealy texture.
Put your 1/2 cup in there and grind away!
See? A little mealy, so this is what I do:
Dump almond meal into a sifter (mine is in storage, so I had to use a colander).
Sift your flour onto a plate below
Until you end up with just your almond chunks left.
Dump those almond chunks back into the blender...
...with your next 1/2 cup of almonds to be ground.
Beautiful almond flour
Add your dry ingredients to a medium bowl
Then add your wet ingredients to a large bowl
And mix those well
Next, add the dry ingredient bowl to the wet ingredients
Mix everything together with a large spoon until well incorporated.
Add in your raisins
Aren't they glorious?
Set aside and whip up your filling!
For the filling:
This is a fabulous filling (that works well as frosting too)! The baking sweetener is a mixture of sucralose (Splenda-type) and xylitol.
If you take your cream cheese (Neufchatel) out of the fridge and let it come to room temp, this is easy to whip with your spoon (or whisk).
Add the baking sweetener
And your lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
Then your almond and vanilla extracts
Whip everything together. You can use a hand mixer or your KitchenAid to make it fluffy (for frosting), but my spatula worked just fine for the filling.
Fill 2 cupcake trays with liners and spray with PAM
Drop about 1 Tbsp of batter into the bottom of each cup
Add a teaspoon(ish) of the filling
Then cover with another tablespoon of batter
Lovely soon-to-be muffins all ready to go in the oven!
Bake for 25 min - or until toothpick comes out clean
Lovely little goodies!
These are one of the first things I'm going to make when I'm on maintenance! Can't wait!
I love the contrast of the muffin and the cream cheese
And these are totally kid-approved!
A super-fabulous-to-die-for muffin. Go make these, you won't regret it!
Fit and Fab EPIC Health Muffins
2 cups Almond Flour (make your own or buy it)
1/4 cup Flax Meal
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
4 Bananas, mashed (the browner the better)
4 whole Eggs (farm fresh baby!)
1 cup Carrots, grated (about 2 large carrots)
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup Raisins (the Sun-Maid Jumbos are amazing)
8 oz Neufchatel (low fat cream cheese) at room temperature
1 cup Zero Calorie Baking Sweetener (we use Fred Meyer Brand)
1 Tbl Lemon Juice (fresh is best)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
UPDATE: Since switching to all natural sugars, we have now made the filling with coconut sugar (1/2-1 cup depending on your preference for sweetness, yummy but doesn't allow the cream cheese to puff up the same) & honey (makes the filling runnier, but yummy). Play around with it and see what you think! Please feel free to share your ideas!
Preheat oven to 375°
Combine almond flour, flax meal, baking soda and spices in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, stir together mashed bananas, eggs, almond extract and carrots. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold to combine. Add in the raisins, fold together and set aside.
For the filling:
Whip cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add Zero Calorie Baking Sweetener, lemon juice and vanilla & almond extracts. Stir (or whip) together until well-incorporated.
Place 24 cupcake liners in 2 (12 muffin) trays. Spray each cup with PAM. Add 1 Tbsp of batter to each cup, then 1 tsp filling, then another tablespoon of batter on top.
Bake in oven for 25 minutes - or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven to cool and ENJOY!
Keep leftover muffins in an airtight container in the fridge.
Nutritional Information HERE.