Bunny Love

by Susan Russo
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carrotcakemuffinsChances are you didn't buy a bunny for your child this Easter. I know this because according to The Humane Society, sales of bunnies are down this year. That's a good thing, since many American kids fervently love their bunnies until the Tuesday after Easter.

So that got me thinking... since fewer bunnies were purchased this Easter, there must be lots of extra carrots around. And what better way to use up carrots than in carrot cake muffins?

These muffins are a tasty collision between Morning Glory Muffins and classic carrot cake. The sweetness of the grated carrots, crushed pineapple, plump raisins and toasty coconut is balanced by earthy walnuts and spicy cinnamon and vanilla. Since carrot cake cannot be eaten without cream cheese, each muffin is topped with a heavy drizzle of pineapple cream cheese frosting that's good enough to eat by the spoonful. I know.


Carrot Cake Muffins with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Makes 6 jumbo or 12 regular muffins
 
Muffins:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons canned crushed pineapple, drained, with 2 tablespoons juice reserved
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup lightly toasted shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
 
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice
 
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.
 
2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well. In a separate medium bowl, whisk oil, eggs, vanilla and crushed pineapple. Add slowly to the flour mixture, stirring well until flour is thoroughly dissolved. Gently stir in carrots, walnuts, coconut and raisins. Pour batter into the prepared muffin tin.
 
3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing.

4. To make the pineapple cream frosting, combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and pineapple juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. It should be on the thick side. Using a small spoon, drizzle frosting over muffins. If you'd more frosting, the coat the entire muffin top.

Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of  Recipes Every Man Should KnowCookbook Review: Parents Need to Eat Too and The Encyclopedia of SandwichesCookbook Review: Parents Need to Eat Too.

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