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3 Kids, a Mom, & a Kitchen: Easter Carrot Muffins with a Cream Cheese Center

3 kids, a mom & a kitchen: lemon pound cake

In this installment of 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen, we are missing one of the kids! Kid #3 (2-year-old Owen) decided to sleep through the entire cooking process. In our house, naps always take precedence over cooking, so we let the little sleeping dog lie. But Cate (9), Anna (6), and I had a blast making some Easter muffins together!

carrot muffins with cream cheese center

The girls and I decided to make a muffin that would be perfect for Easter brunch. We settled on carrot muffins with a cream cheese center, sort of a brunch version of carrot cake! Keep reading to find out how the cooking went and, of course, get the recipe!

  • Why We Chose the Recipe: Carrot Muffins with a Cream Cheese Center 1 of 5
    cooking carrot muffins with kids

    Carrot cake is quintessential Easter food. We all agreed that eating carrot cake for breakfast sounded like a good idea, especially for Easter brunch, so we decided to make some carrot muffins. Now, the best part of carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting, so we knew that, even though muffins don't have frosting, we still needed to get that sweet cream cheese in there somehow. We ended up coming up with a cream cheese filling/topping and crossed our fingers that it would work. Here's how things went!

  • Rankings: Carrot Muffins Were an A+ Success! 2 of 5
    cooking with kids - carrot muffins rankings

    Making these carrot muffins with the kids was a huge success! There was something for everyone to do, no fighting, and the final product was delicious. Plus, when our little experiment with the cream cheese filling worked, the kids were super excited. Cate exclaimed, "It worked! Our idea worked!" I love that they felt such a sense of success from the cooking project!

  • Steps in the Recipe Where Kids Can Get Involved 3 of 5
    cooking carrot muffins with kids

    I really love baking with the kids because there is always plenty of tasks for everyone there is counting and measuring involved and there is always stirring, every kid's favorite thing to do in the kitchen! Here are a few things that each of my daughters did specifically:

    Cate (9 years old):

    • Cate knows how to preheat the oven now, so she got to turn it on for us.
    • Cate was in charge of shredding the carrots. She's old enough that I knew she (probably) wouldn't hurt herself, and it took her a long time to get 1 1/2 cups of carrots shredded, which was good because then Anna could help me with other tasks and there was a lot less fighting than normal. 
    • Cate was in charge of reading the recipe to us as well.

    Both Cate and Anna (6 years old):

    • Both girls got to help with all of the stirring! 
    • As with all our baking projects, they took turns measuring and dumping ingredients into the bowl.
    • Putting paper liners in the muffin tin is also a great kid-friendly job!
    • They did an excellent job licking the bowls when the muffins were in the oven. I almost didn't have to wash dishes.
  • The Tasting 4 of 5
    cooking with kids: carrot muffins tasting

    Like I mentioned before, the whole cream cheese center was an experiment, so we weren't sure what to expect when we opened the oven door after the timer went off. Thankfully the muffins were beautiful! Once they cooled for a few minutes the girls got to dig in and they both loved the muffins as did I!

  • The Final Product and the Recipe! 5 of 5
    carrot muffins with a cream cheese center

    These muffins really will be perfect for Easter brunch, but honestly, they'd be perfect anytime! 

    Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

    The muffin portion of the recipe was adapted from The Joy of Cooking; we made up the cream cheese filling part of the recipe ourselves

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 5 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves.
    3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the shredded carrots and let sit for 10 minutes.
    4. While the carrot mixture sits for 10 minutes, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour. Mix it as well as you can, getting out lumps, but don't stress if it's still a little lumpy.
    5. Add the orange juice and vegetable oil to the egg mixture and whisk together well. 
    6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and carefully fold until just moistened. I let each girl do 10 stirs and then I finished it up. Batter will be lumpy.
    7. Divide evenly between 12 muffin tins that have been greased or have paper liners.
    8. Using a teaspoon, generously fill the teaspoon with the cream cheese mixture and then press the teaspoon into the top of a muffin, sort of pushing the spoon in and then twisting to fill the hole with the cream cheese mixture. It doesn't need to be perfect! Note: There will be leftover cream cheese filling, that's okay. You do not need to use it all.
    9. Bake for 15-18 minutes. 

Read more from Jane at This Week for DinnerKitchen Tunage and The Spoiler Alert. For more updates, follow Jane on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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