The raisins-in-baked goods question seems to divide folks and I’ve always found myself on the side of the not so muches. A handful as-is makes me very happy, but keep them out of my cookies, quick breads, scones, etc. thank you very much. (Don’t even get me started on sour cream raisin pie.)
But I baked with a friend recently and when she suggested we make Super Muffins, I couldn’t say no. (Super Muffins? How often do you get the chance to make Super Muffins?) I overlooked the fact that there were raisins involved as well as that the recipe looked much like that for the ever-popular Morning Glory muffins. (Never a fan–too chock-full-of-goodness for me.)
But I was baking with a friend and willing to try something new. And things didn’t look all bad–outside of raisins, the other ingredients were winners: oats, bran, whole wheat flour, shredded carrots, applesauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger. I was willing to look past the raisin thing and give these a try.
And it’s a good thing I did or I would not have been able to tell you that these were the Best Muffins Ever: full of flavor, dense but not in a doorstop way, just sweet enough. The raisins? They melted into the muffin’s structure, only making themselves known so far as their hit of tangy sweet.
These muffins are prize winners on so many levels. My baking friend and I enjoyed one for lunch, though they’re also no-brainers for breakfasts and snacks. And I imagined they’d also make a fine dessert warmed, then drizzled with caramel sauce and served alongside vanilla ice cream.
Thinking ahead, we talked about mixing pumpkin or sunflower seeds into the batter. Or chia seeds. Or flax seeds. Or subbing pumpkin puree in for part (or all) of the applesauce. Adding freshly grated nutmeg and upping the ground ginger seemed smart. But I wouldn’t touch the carrot amount–it was perfect. And despite what I thought going in, I’d keep the raisins. (Though perhaps they could be plumped in bourbon rather than boiling water? 😉 )
The muffin recipe follows, but note that I took my suggestion of serving these muffins drizzled with caramel sauce and alongside ice cream very seriously. (or as seriously as you can take something as fun as Super Muffins, caramel sauce, and ice cream 🙂 ) There’s more to say about that ice cream, but seeing as how this is getting long, I’ll leave you with a picture and ask you to come back later in the week for the second half of this divine dessert pairing. (There will also be beer chocolate sauce, so well worth the wait.)
Now for those muffins…
Credit for these absolutely above-average muffins goes to my friend Stephanie’s grandma–thanks for sharing!
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease muffins cups.
In small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add raisins; let stand 5 minutes. (DO NOT DRAIN.)
In large bowl, combine cereal, applesauce, milk, carrots, brown sugar, eggs, and oil; mix well. Stir in raisin mixture. In separate large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except for walnuts. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry; mix just until combined. Stir in walnuts if using.
Ladle batter evenly into muffin cups, filling each completely. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate to store. Can also be frozen, which is good as this recipe Makes 40 Muffins!
You are so right about raisins dividing people, and I am firmly planted on the non-raisin side of the fence. I love branny, oatty, carrotty muffins (yes, those are all real words), but I’ll leave the raisins out thank you very much! I’ll make Super -1 Muffins and report back 🙂
but see, that’s what I thought, too, Andi. Not saying you should make them with raisins, just saying if you lived closer I’d bring you one of these and make you take at least one bite 😉 lol. I really didn’t expect to love them as much as I do.
But now I know to never expect an oatmeal raisin cookie to turn up at Weary Chef!
These look amazing: I love muffins, and carrot muffins are even better. I’m still not sure about the raisins, though….If you’ve ever seen the Johnny Depp movie “Benny and Joon”, you would know “raisins are just humiliated grapes”. 🙂 You may have convinced me to leave them in with your description, though. We will see.
Thanks, Jenny. Had no idea there were so many others who didn’t like baked raisins. (or maybe we’re just more vocal here?) That’s a great line about humiliated grapes. Might be borrowing 😉 let it go on record that I still don’t like raisins in baked goods. Just happen to like these muffins. Wonder what you’ll think…
Yay! The muffins are here, the muffins are here! I’m excited, can you tell? 😉 These look like they were worth the wait – delish! Now, normally raisins and I aren’t on speaking terms with each other, but perhaps we can put our differences aside and come together in this case. I might just have to do some baking this weekend to find out! 🙂
Your enthusiasm is always appreciated, Amb 🙂 See above comment for my take on non-raw raisins (still don’t like). And also see above for an awesome movie line. In foodforfun comments of all places 😀
Happy almost Fri.
Johhny Depp movie references look good anywhere! Happy almost Friday to you too, my friend!
Those muffins are loaded with fun and oomph factor 🙂 Touch of carrots in it just triggered my cravings ! Thanks for the easy-breezy recipe 🙂
Yes, oomph–I like that! Glad if you enjoy the recipe. Definitely a more-healthy snack than some. Thanks for coming by 🙂
My goodness – i am so making these next week. Will report back with the results 🙂
wow, thanks for coming by, Arto 🙂 Was thinking of reaching out and hollering that you could find muffins at foodforfun today, but you beat me to it. Enjoy!
Oh I can smell muffins from around the corner there. Can’t keep me away!
They look delicious (especially with the caramel!). Wish I had one right now to snack on since I’m procrastinating starting dinner. And your question on whether the raisins could be plumped in bourbon? I think the answer to “should I use booze?” is always an emphatic “yes!” Can’t wait to read about the ice cream!
Thanks, J. Am sure your dinner turned out spectacularly well. lol–will plump the raisins in booze next time for sure!
YUM! These muffins definitely look awesome. I love that you take the healthy treat and bomb it with caramel and ice cream! 🙂 Oh and beer chocolate sauce? nice 🙂
lol–I guess I do tend to “bomb” healthy foods. It’s all about balance, right? Your chocolate sauce is so good I can not stand it. Will be giving you a shout out next post 🙂
It is definitely all about balance 🙂 Glad that you like the chocolate sauce so much.
I feel the same way about raisins– but now you’ve got me thinking about it. Maybe they’re not so bad after all. The muffins sounds yummy!! With caramel sauce and ice cream– perfect!! Can’t wait for Part 2. 🙂
Thanks, Ger. I’m still not good with raisins in my baked goods, but I can’t help but like these muffins 🙂
These carrot cereal walnut muffins look great als a tasty breakfast , a healthy snack or a grand & appetizing dessert! That salted caramel sauce looks smashing too! I can’t wait to make them!
Appreciate your enthusiasm, Sophie 🙂 These muffins are totally up your alley. I like healthy food as much as the next guy, but often like my baked goods to just be treats and not necessarily good-for-you. With these muffins you get both!
yes, yes, yes!
Looks all delicious, can’t wait for the other recipes. Seems like soaking raisins or other dried fruit before baking makes them taste much better. I’ve done it with different teas before as well. Soaking in bourbon sounds really good 😀
soaking raisins in tea? never occurred to me, but why not? What teas do you like best for that? Good to see you here 🙂 Thanks for stopping!
I think my son would flip for these muffins! Can’t wait to give them a try!
My girls like them a lot, and they’re not easy to please when it comes to “healthy” foods. Hope they’re a success on your end as well. I’m looking forward to making your scones 🙂
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Definitely yum! I’m on the pro-raisin side, I love them in cakes, muffins and cookies oh and always loved raisin bran as a kid too! These muffins certainly are super, must try them!
Thanks, Jayne 🙂 I knew there had to be some of you out there!
These sound and look wonderful! I usually enjoy muffins (either banana or pumpkin) with a bit of cream cheese on top, and I bet these would be no exception! 😀 Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Valerie 🙂 A bit of cream cheese on top would make these even better muffins, yes. Great idea!
These sound wonderful and a meal in themselves )
Beth! Six months later and I’m responding 😉 Am pinging back to this post and was reading through comments. And your stands alone unanswered. Sheesh. Someone’s going to get fired over this.
Agreed these would make a decent solo meal. Good for those quick lunch breaks the K teachers take?
hey, no worries on the timeline, liz. i’m easy ) as for lunches, 3 of the 5 days each week i eat with the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. always an adventure )
These look delicious – I like the pairing of the muffins with ice cream, but in particular that you have added sea-salt caramel sauce. Gonna add this to the “to make soon” list!
Thanks, Claire! Very much appreciate all of your visits and likes and comments. Glad to have you here again. A friend made a comment that I seem to have a knack for making healthy recipes go the other way, and I guess that’s what happened here. The muffin was screaming for ice cream so what’s a cook to do? 😉
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These look great – so healthy and hearty. Greg is anti-raisin. Our household is divided! 😦
I’m definitely on the side of the “yes to raisins”. Love your version with the oats. I’ll give it a try next time. 🙂
I remember liking these muffins much more than I thought I would, so I want to try yours now, too. Thanks for checking this out!!