Muffins for kids and a confession

OK. I admit it. I went through a phase where I pureed every vegetable known to mankind and tried to hide it in a muffin so that my oldest son, "the challenging eater" would get some vegetables in his diet.

It all started when a well known celebrity wife put out her own cookbook that toted spinach brownies, cookies with zucchini, yellow squash cupcakes and more. I bought that cookbook with excitment, determination and gusto. I religiously cooked and steamed my organic vegetables, and then froze them in ice-cube trays as instructed so that I would be prepared at all times to use them in the above mentioned recipes. Yes, I was keen.

I tried almost every recipe in that book. A few were a hit but many were a miss. It got so bad that my husband would pass on whatever I had baked without even knowing what it was and the kids would just look at me suspiciously whenever I offered them a cookie. Even the dog would simply sniff at then walk away from any bits that had fallen to the floor. Soon, I was even more frustrated than I was before I engaged in this adventure because now I had dozens of cookies, muffins and loaves that no one would eat.

Time to face reality.

There are a lot of great muffin and cookie recipes out there that are delicious and healthy. The key is just to remember to not go overboard. Carrots have their place in a muffin and so does zucchini if it is paired with enough sweetness and spice. But once you cross the line and start to incorporate vegetables best suited to go with your Sunday roast or that you have to puree to hide, you're heading for trouble. Trust me. I know. I've been there. Many. Times. Over.

So, to end all the craziness, a recipe. A good old fashioned muffin that in not only good for you but tastes fantastic too. You'll love them, the husband will eat them and the kids will thank you. Make a big batch and freeze half for another time. They'll be good frozen for up to 3 months.

Carrot Spice Mini Muffins
(Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan: Makes 36 mini muffins)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup canola or safflower oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk (I only had skim so I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (I put them in the food processor so they would be fine)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup moist, plump raisins

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Then place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk and vanilla extract together until well combined.

Pour the the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and with a rubber spatula, gently but quickly sir to blend. Stir in the carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Cari Snell is a mom, wife and the editor and recipe wrangler of Can I get the Recipe? An online source providing weekly printable recipes, shopping lists, great giveaways and more.


  1. What kind of flour do you use? I try and bake with whole wheat as much as possible and my family loves muffins.

  2. My MIL offered to buy me a copy of that book. I told her I'd been down that road with my son, and there was no sneaking anything past him. At that time he still ate Spaghetti and I used a yummy, chunky, veggie filled variety that he loved. She decided she was smarter than me and pureed green beans and carrots and added to her spaghetti sauce and tried to feed it to him. He gave her a look she still talks about and has refused to eat spaghetti since. Oh well....

  3. My 14 month old has loved veggies from the beginning but this would be a great treat for breakfast or a snack. Definitely making these!

  4. Hi Everyone!
    The flour is all purpose white but it can easily be substituted with whole wheat. They'll just be a bit denser but still delicious. Want something inbetween? Use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose white. Happy baking!

  5. My kids love eating muffins and trying new exciting foods to eat. I will try this receipe for sure this weekend coming. I think these will be a great treat for a snack for the kids for sure. I liked reading your blog and will be back for more. HAVE A NICE DAY!!!

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  6. I also grab your button too. Thanks!!!

  7. My son loves muffins (and so do I!), I'll have to give this a try this week.
    I have that particular seemed like a great idea in theory, but wound up being way too much work for very little nutritional benefit. Honestly, 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of a puree added to a meal that serves 4 or 6 much of that particular vegetable is really being added to a child's diet?


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