Not surprisingly, the highlight of our recent weekend getaway to Portlandia was the Paleo Pop Up Brunch I co-hosted at Departure Restaurant with our pal, the incomparable Chef Gregory Gourdet—a.k.a. the guy who’s been dominating all the challenges on this season’s Top Chef. (FYI: if you’re not on #TeamGG, I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends.)
We all raved about the insanely great spread that GG and his crew served, but there was one recipe in particular that everyone wanted: GG’s Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot Muffins.
I can’t blame them.
These mini carrot cakes are dangerously addictive. With a tender crumb, just the right amount of sweetness, and a pleasantly unexpected hit of exotic spice, it’s no wonder the brunch crowd scarfed down these muffins.
You guys know that I’m not much of a baker. And because I refuse to tinker endlessly with batch after batch of Paleo baked goods—my waistline just can’t take it, people—I begged GG to share his recipe. GG, being awesome, happily agreed to spread the pumpkin-y, carrot-y love.
When he sent me the recipe, what really surprised me was his secret ingredient: FIVE SPICE POWDER! I know—you’re raising your eyebrows. But if the guy who’s killing it on Top Chef Boston is telling you to use it, you’d be a dummy not to listen.
Now, grab an apron and let’s start baking!
Makes 12 muffins
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 4 medium carrots, grated and squeezed of juice (final volume: 1½ cups shredded carrots)
- 1½ cups almond flour, spooned and leveled
- 1½ teaspoons five spice powder (if you must, you can substitute pumpkin spice blend)
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin purée
- ½ cup local honey
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, and a bit extra for greasing the muffin tin if not using paper liners
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
- Muffin tin
- Paper muffin liners (optional)
- Silicone liners (optional)
- Grater or food processor
- Cheesecloth or dish towel
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Heat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position, and take your eggs out of the fridge. It’s important that your eggs are at room temperature when you start blending the liquid ingredients, or things’ll get chunky.
Confession: Even when I make sure the muffin cups are coated with coconut oil or ghee, my muffins tend to stick. If you don’t want to use paper liners, you can use silicone ones, or just grease the living $%!# out of the cups and fall to your knees and pray that the muffins release.
Next, grate your peeled carrots by hand or in a food processor…
…and place the shredded carrots in a doubled piece of cheese cloth or clean dish towel. (Trust me: paper towels will tear.)
Gather up the sides of the cloth and wring out the excess carrot juice…
…and set the carrot shreds aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, five spice powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon, and sea salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well.
Mix in the pumpkin, honey, almond butter, and melted coconut oil.
Again, make sure these ingredients are at room temperature, or the coconut oil will harden and clump up. Not the worst thing in the world, but definitely annoying when your goal is a smooth batter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry…
…and stir until combined.
Fold in the grated carrots.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling them about ¾ full.
Sprinkle sliced almonds and toasted pumpkin seeds on top before placing the muffins in the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the muffin tin 180° halfway through the cooking process.
The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the tops feel springy to the touch.
Cool the tray on a rack for about 5 minutes…
…and then pop the muffins out and completely cool them directly on the rack.
Final step: EAT.
Store any uneaten muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They freeze beautifully, too! I try to let chilled muffins come up to room temperature before taking a bite, but to be honest, I sometimes usually can’t wait that long. Thankfully, they also taste great right out of the fridge.
These muffins are perfect for autumn, so stock up on the ingredients and whip up a batch. Thanksgiving’s just around the corner!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).7