Molasses Muffins

There’s a lot of advice that you just shouldn’t take, and these muffins are a prime example. On my long run the other day I realized that I hardly ever bake muffins anymore, and I’m not sure why that is, because there’s really no better way to start your day. (Unless you’re eating one of those giant ones with 80 grams of fat…then I can think of a lot of better ways to start your day.)

I knew we had carrots, apples, and walnuts, which all seemed like reasonable things to include in a muffin recipe. We also had a jar of molasses, which I wanted to try and use in place of white sugar (because it’s slightly healthier – there’s some iron and calcium in it). A little googling told me that you shouldn’t replace more than half the sugar in a recipe with molasses, but I refused to take that advice. I was fully prepared for these muffins to be a disaster, but they’re not! They’re soft and sweet, and remind me of gingerbread, but with apple, carrot, and whole wheat flour, they’re a lot healthier.

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/3 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup oil

Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners, and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix with a wire whisk.

Stir the eggs, molasses, apple, carrot, walnuts, and oil together in a medium bowl, then pour into the flour mixture.
Stir gently with a wooden spoon until mixed, then divide among muffin tins and bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

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18 comments to Molasses Muffins

  • These look delicious! They look like they’re so full of flavor.

  • oh, YESSSSS! I love molasses. And in muffins, well, what’s not to like. Except, of course, the effect on my hips, because I don’t take long runs. Sigh…

    Thanks for this recipe!

  • I made a similar recipe awhile back and the combo of apples and carrots was so yummy! We’re reducing our sugar as well, so I love the idea of using molasses. These look wonderful!

  • ohhh i can’t wait to try these!

  • Susan

    I am so delighted this recipe was profiled on SeriousEats! I made these last night for my fiance (I make him a batch of muffins every week so he has breakfast-to-go; I am so much happier sending him to work with a muffin versus his previous breakfast of champions: pop tarts) and he LOVES them. The apple and carrot provide a little light sweetness on top of the depth of the molasses, and the whole wheat flour is a nice base to start the day right. Thank you, thank you! Finally, a muffin I can rotate with the standard white-whole-wheat-blueberry :-)

  • These sound delicious! With all the wholesome ingredients of whole wheat flour, apples, and carrots, these are muffins I can feel good about baking and eating-thanks for sharing!

  • Lauralani

    Great recipe! I altered slightly to make vegan and added banana and zucchini that needed to find a home. The molasses really makes them moist and just sweet enough. Will make another batch to take to work-not enough left from original try ;-)

  • rhonda

    These muffins are amazing! I came across this recipes when I had left over molasses…..what a great find! They turned out amazing…my 18month old daughter can’t get enough of them…which makes me happy to have a healthy and filling snack for her!
    thank you!!!

  • I made these this morning and they are absolutely delicious!


  • Hi Cate, funny, just read the comment from rhonda above, I actually was searching on line for muffins with molasses because of the high iron content, to feed to my 19 month old. he also really seemed to like them. we took them to the park and enjoyed them there! Thanks Cate.

  • JRM

    Just made these with my 2 year old for my 10 month old who needs more iron. They LOVE these! Not quite sweet enough for me, although I’ll try them again with a cup of tea. But these will be a wonderful alternative to o nut cereal.

    If you make mini muffins they need 9-11 minutes.

  • Laura

    Perfect! Not too sweet, and probably pretty low on the glycemic index, too. Bringing these for Thanksgiving breakfast. YUM.

  • TandraJoy

    I presume that when you say that molasses is just “slightly better than sugar you are speaking of something other than Blackstrap molasses.
    I live in Costa Rica so I have seen first hand how molasses is made.Here is a synopsis…Mature sugar cane is boiled down in order to extract white refined table sugar. A byproduct of this process is a rich, mahogany-colored liquid known as unsulphured blackstrap molasses. The original nutrients of the sugar cane reside in the molasses. These essential nutrients include iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium & zinc, and traces of various vitamins. Refined white sugar has none of these. An additional benefit of molasses is its low glycemic index (GI), meaning the glucose & carbohydrates in the molasses are metabolized slowly. Low GI foods help stabilize your body’s blood sugar levels, require less insulin production, and provide you with sustained levels of energy. Besides these benefits, blackstrap molasses adds a rich, tawny flavor to recipes unlike any other sweetener.

  • Jackie2830

    These were great, and surprisingly my hubby loved them. He took half of them to work [loves to eat on the run while working] and put extras in the freezer for the week. I too feel good about him eating healthier items like this Thanks!

  • April Mae

    Made these today and mmmm-mmmm-mmmm!

  • Julie

    I usually skip the carrot and apple bits, that way the only source of sugar is the molasses. My step-father-in-law is diabetic and after I do the math, these are VERY low in sugar. I believe the sugar found in things like honey, molasses, and fruit are lower in the glycemic index, meaning the body can process it more easily. So even after several of these deliciius muffins a diabetic will still be in a “safe zone.” Good thing too, as these tasty muffins are dangerously delicious.

  • Traci Roberts

    I just made these after searching for iron sources for my 16-month old. These tasted wonderful – our family doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, and these were perfect. I entered the ingredients at sparkpeople’s recipe builder and the nutrition information is great! Just don’t forget moms…iron is more readily absorbed when consumed with some vitamin C, so don’t forget the kiwi or strawberries with these muffins at snack time! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  • Sarah

    Sooooo good. I added one and a half bananas that were about to get thrown away. That added a bit more sweetness. I may have also added 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips :) Will make again!

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