Scented with allspice and laced with shreds of carrot, these muffins strike a balance between sweetness and spice. The streusel topping adds crunch and extra flavor while spelt flour and oat bran lend an earthy flavor. This recipe can double as a morning coffee cake—imagine a rustic version of a carrot cake—if you bake the batter and streusel in a 9-inch round pan instead of individual muffin cups.–Kim Boyce
LC Perfect Muffin Tops Tip
We’d like to take credit for the brilliant technique contained within this recipe, but we’re too honest. (Actually, it’s not honesty, it’s guilt from our Catholic childhoods.) It’s Kim Boyce, author of the award-winning cookbook Good to the Grain, and not us who suggests filling only alternate baking cups with batter. This niftily allows each muffin enough room to have a proper domed top, rather than become all smooshed and stuck to its neighbor. Brilliant, yes?
Our small contribution to this conversation, however modest, is that we like to fill a few of the empty cups partway with water. This humidifies the oven which, in turn, does wonders for the muffins’ moistness. Not that these little lovelies need any help.
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 55 M
- Makes 8
- For the streusel topping
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spelt flour
- 2 tablespoons oat bran
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- For the muffins
- Butter, for the tins
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots, about 2 medium
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup buttermilk (regular or low-fat or nonfat is fine)
- 1 large egg
- Make the streusel topping
- 1. Measure the flour, oat bran, sugars, and salt into a bowl. Add the butter to the dry mixture. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the mixture feels coarse, like cornmeal. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
- Make the carrot muffins
- 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176 °C). Rub the muffin tins with the butter.
- 3. Sift the flours, bran, sugars, allspice, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir the carrots into the dry ingredients.
- 4. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg and whisk until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- 5. Scoop the batter into 8 muffin cups, using a spoon or an ice cream scoop. The batter should be slightly mounded above the edge. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the mounds of batter and press it into the batter slightly.
- 6. Bake the muffins for 32 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The muffins are ready to come out when they smell nutty and their bottoms are a dark golden-brown (twist a single muffin out of the pan to check). Remove the tins from the oven, twist each muffin out, and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy. These are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. They can also be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen and reheated.