muffin mondays: emily’s spiced carrot-date muffins with cashews

Happy Monday readers! I’m Emily Cobb, author of art and lifestyle blog “emily’s eye.” It is quite the honor to be your Muffin Monday contributor for I must admit, I am not a professional baker or cook.


I love food though, and have been working in the restaurant industry for seven years so I’m not completely clueless. As an artist, I love combining the flavors of various ingredients as if they are paint on a canvas. When grocery shopping I’ll buy ingredients that interest me rather than having a specific recipe in mind. So when it comes time to cook or bake I become a pantry scavenger and will select items that I feel may mesh well. My goal is for the ingredients to accentuate each others’ best qualities without overwhelming.



Sometimes I come up with kitchen gems, and sometimes I get laughable flops. The element of surprise when experimenting sure keeps things interesting.

Clearly, the creative process is what I really love about cooking – well, the eating part is pretty awesome too. That said, lets talk muffins . . .



For today’s recipe: a medley of Medjool dates, cashews, coconut, orange, fresh ginger and cardamom throws a funky twist into the typical carrot-nut muffin rut. The spice combination makes these muffins downright mysterious while the dates, like nature’s caramel, add a serious dose of sweetness.

Warning: these muffins may be treading on carrot cake territory. . . not that there’s anything wrong with having dessert for breakfast. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to start your day. (Even if it is at the crack-of-noon, as is typically the case with me.)


plated muffinsAs a true American my personal motto is “Go Big or Go Home:” I use a jumbo size muffin tin. This recipe will yield a dozen sensibly sized muffins or 6 big boys.

In closing, big kudos to Jen for creating the opportunity for local (and familial) foodie collaboration. Way to bring people together through baked goods. Viva Muffin Mondays!

Emily’s Spiced Carrot-Date Muffins with Cashews

The Dry:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse bran (miller’s bran)
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut flakes (plus a bit extra to garnish)
3 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
½ tsp salt

The Wet:

2 eggs
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
4 tbsp softened butter

The Delicious:

3/4 cup shredded carrot
½ cup chopped (& pitted) medjool dates
1/3 cup chopped cashews
2 tbsp shredded fresh ginger (for the best flavor use fresh, otherwise, substitute ½ ground ginger)
1½ tbsp orange zest

  1. Preheat the oven to 400, and use a food processor to shred carrots and a little nub of skinned fresh ginger. Prep the rest of the items by hand and combine each set of ingredients (the dry, the wet, and the delicious) in 3 separate bowls with the dry in the largest bowl (all the ingredients will end up here.)
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Then fold and stir the two forces together until everything is just moistened.
  3. Fold in the remaining ingredients (the delicious). The consistency should be lumpy and moist – do not over work! Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, and sprinkle the remaining coconut flakes on top of each muffin.
  4. Depending on the tin size and/or the oven the muffins need anywhere between 20-30 minutes to bake. Do the clean toothpick test every 5 minutes after 20 minutes of oven time have passed to determine when they’re done. Like most pastries these muffins are excellent when served warm or reheated in the toaster oven. Enjoy!

8 thoughts on “muffin mondays: emily’s spiced carrot-date muffins with cashews

  1. Sheri Ward
    November 3, 2009 at 8:18 am

    these look wonderful and very interesting! Thanks, Emily!

  2. Carolyn H.
    November 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    These look almost Indian in flavor. Very interesting use of ingredients. I’ll definitely be trying them soon.

    1. January 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Linda – I made these muffins and tollaty loved the recipe. I’ve since made them again, without the crumb this time and instead, I incorporated 100 grams of Lindt Swiss dark chocolate (chopped). Incredible muffin. Now, I make sure there are always banana in the freezer so I can make these at a moment’s notice. I love your blog!September 16, 2010 6:22 pm[]

  3. November 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Emily! These are fabulous muffins! I love the how they look on top! :D

  4. Caitlin
    November 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Jen – keeps these posts coming – they inspire me to get off my butt and utilize the contents of my fridge and pantry!

    1. January 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      those look wonderful… for some resoan I never thought about combining chocolate and pumpkin… but wow does that sound wonderful :)BTW, do you mind if I link to you? I always like asking first… let me know, thanks!

    2. January 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      – Annie, these muffins were INSANELY DELICIOUS! Great find! The smell while they were bnkaig was positively drool inducing. That’s 2 great recipes I’ve found here (Kahlua cupcakes is the other, have made them twice now). Excellent work, excellent blog!July 2, 2010 5:50 pm[]

  5. SS
    March 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

    So I was really excited to try this recipe and didn’t measure out the ginger exactly. Rather, I sort of eyed the ginger bulbs after peeling them and looked at the volume of 2 tablespoons and figured that was right and just put it in the food processor with the carrots.

    Well, my muffins came out way too strong! And I’m one of those people that likes ginger! So to those of you who try this recipe, don’t overdo it on the spices. Also, they’re not super sweet as far as muffins go, not that muffins are supposed to be very sweet.

    Anyway, I plan to try these again and to not overdo it on the spices. When measuring the spices I didn’t level them off, they were rounded which is another reason why these are probably so strong.