Sometimes it’s hard to see friends. Busy lives and lots of work often interfere with good intentions. That’s why I set aside several hours last Wednesday morning for my friend Jackie. We started with a jog around the park, exercising together while planning what we’d bake later. Jackie had a delicious salad and soup planned for lunch, so maybe something sweet for dessert. Since I just received several pounds of early carrots from my CSA, we decided it would have to be something carroty. And because I also needed to test the chocolate biscotti recipe I had created, I decided to get some “work” done as well.
Jackie peeled the carrots, saving all the scraps for my compost, while I got the biscotti ready to bake. I joked about how happy I was that she performed the carrot peeling job, and she reminded me that’s why we cook with friends. And it sure is! I was dreading peeling those darn carrots, testimony to why they’d been sitting in my refrigerator for a few weeks. Even though they are quite tasty, they weren’t the big easy-to-peel ones, but rather small and thin ones, probably why I had gotten so many for “free” from my CSA farmer. But that’s what friends (or at least cooking with friends) are for!
And, payment for carrot peeling would be half of my biscotti. Not a bad deal! I grated the carrots and we created some delicious muffins together. The only question left? What to top them with! Jackie suggested a cream cheese frosting, which I snuck some cardamom into.
In the midst of baking, our friend Debbie stopped by to say hello. As we were chatting with her, we put her to work on the frosting. As you can see, our cupcakes benefited from the art teacher in her with squiggles and swirls. Voila! A delicious and festive carrot cake muffin with cardamom frosting was created by three friends. And then we sat down to a delicious al fresco lunch in Jackie’s backyard on a beautiful spring day.
Here’s our recipe.
Carrot Muffins with Cardamom Frosting
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour
¾ cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 12 muffin tin, spraying well with baking spray. Set aside.
Beat together the oil and butter. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Fold in the carrots. Divide the mixture evenly among the tin, filling ¾ of the way. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-22 minutes until firm to the touch. Cool and frost if desired.
1 cup cream cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Whip all ingredients together until creamy. Place in a sandwich bag, cut a small hole in one corner and frost as you wish!