January sparkles with the excitement of a new year. Resolutions abound with the promise to put the woes of the past behind. And who could forget the struggle to shed pounds that lie ahead?
With this in mind, I set out to bake a healthy carrot bread. Adapting the familiar substitutions: whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour for added fiber and nutty flavor, egg whites replacing whole eggs to reduce the fat, and substituting applesauce for butter by adding moisture and cutting calories and fat. Although this may sound all good, it wasn’t! Nothing to write home about. So, I scraped the whole thought of developing a healthy carrot bread for a later time. Instead, I began to create a bread with the right texture, not too dense nor too cakey, gently spiced and with a rich carrot flavor.
This carrot bread starts with shreds of tender carrots, adding natural sweetness and moisture. I used half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, creating a firm crumb and an earthy-sweet flavor. I added milk and cream cheese, for richness and to balance the sweetness of using brown sugar. Finally, I added the warming notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves along with sunflower seeds and plump juicy raisins to make up this delicious classic carrot bread.
Meet ya in the kitchen!
For the Bread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1/4 cup+ 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (10 ounces) carrots, shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 sunflower seeds + 1 tablespoon
Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
Place the raisins in a bowl of hot water and set aside to soak. Drain before adding.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt), set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl add the oil, brown sugar, and cream cheese, and microwave on 100% for 30 seconds. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and the mixture is homogeneous.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Add egg mixture to cream cheese mixture and mix to combine. Mix in the carrots, raisins, and sunflower seeds.
Fold in the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sunflower seeds on top of the loaf.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let loaf cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove loaf and let cool before serving.
Thanks for stopping by.
Bake some LOVE!