More Carrots, Fewer Sticks

We haven’t been stockpiling on purpose, but Sunday morning I noticed our crisper’d somehow accumulated three pretty big bags of carrots. And LFFC’s weekly newsletter predicted another bunch would arrive on Tuesday. Yikes.

For sure, we could stand to bump up our share of raw carrots consumed, so I peeled and sliced the biggest roots into snackable sticks (setting aside a wee bag for Gracie, too). That barely made a dent in the four-pound stash, though—and honestly, I’ve had as much carrot soup as I need this winter—so I sat down to make a list of carrot projects that go beyond the baton.

Scooter & Gracie
Meet Gracie, a Havanese mix who’s, apparently, part bunny. She hops around a lot on her hind legs, she scarfs carrot nibs like they’re Pup-Peroni, and Scooter there can tell you about the indelicate third reason. It rhymes with Thumper.

Here are three tried-and-true ways to work a Bugs-worthy binge into dinner, breakfast, and dessert—plus a brand-new (and bran-new) recipe for muffins.

(1) Edible Roasting Rack

This one’s a gimme, and I did it again Sunday night with a small, whole chicken.

Add a tiny bit of oil to your roasting pan—just enough to coat the bottom. Lay in four or five similar-sized, scrubbed (but not peeled) carrots, leaving a half inch or so between each. Season the chicken your favorite way (I used Meyer lemons, garlic, and thyme), and set it on top of the carrots. If you want, scatter some cubed potatoes, onions, or turnips alongside. Roast as usual. When the bird’s to temp, test the veggies for doneness. Because the rendered chicken fat will have dripped onto and soaked into the veggies(!), if want them to crisp up, you may need to give them another 10-15 minutes in the oven while the chicken’s resting.

(2) Carrot-Cake Pancakes
Carrot-Cake Pancakes
Lightly sweet, not at all fussy, and perfect for, say, a pre-holiday-brunch breakfast.

I first made these last spring, faithfully following the guidance of Smitten Kitchen.

(3) Parsnip-Carrot Layer Cake
Parsnip-Carrot Layer Cake
This 50-50 version was a big hit last Easter, but, sure, you could easily use all carrots.

This tall beauty was a mash-up of recipes from Dorie Greenspan and Gale Gand.

(4) Carrot-Date Bran Muffins

Just 3 tablespoons of sugar here, since the dates add so much of their own sweetness. If you don’t have dates—or don’t like them—raisins are good, too (especially goldens), but bump the sugar up to a quarter-cup. Makes 18 standard-sized muffins.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1-1/2 cup All-Bran cereal (the twigs)
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 cup buttermilk (or, for a low-fat version, use skim or 2% milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 2 tbsp melted, cooled butter
  • 2 tbsp applesauce (I used unsweetened, but if you have sweet applesauce, reduce the sugar above by a bit)
  • 1 cup lightly packed, grated carrots (about 2 medium-large ones)
  • grated zest of a lemon (or small orange)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, dried dates

Preheat your oven to 400°. If you’re using muffin tins, grease or spray the bottoms and sides.

Kellogg’s All-Bran Cereal comes in bud, twig, and flak varieties. For these muffins, you want the twigs.

In one bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients (the flours, sugar, cinnamon, salt, soda, and powder). In another (larger) bowl, stir together everything else.

I used the coarse side of my grater, since I wanted some texture in the finished muffin, but if you want the carrots to vanish, scrape on the fine side.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir quickly until just combined. Get all the flour incorporated, but don’t overmix.

Scoop or spoon into muffin tins (I actually use silcone cups set on a sheet pan), filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes, until they sound hollow when you tap the top and a toothpick tester comes out goo- and crumb-free.

I just love these silicone baking cups—no extra butter or spray required, and the muffins pop right out.

Serve warm with butter or a schmear of cream cheese. These freeze well, too, so they’re a great make-ahead breakfast treat for road trips, camping, or those days when you just need a little something-something mid-morning.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie says:

    Can’t wait to try the muffins! I’ve accumulated many LFFC carrots too…but no Gracie to help me eat them!

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks, Julie. Hope they work out well for you, too.

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