Think carrot or zucchini muffins, but with mellow, buttery parsnips instead.  Parsnips are paler, sweeter cousins of the carrot, so it makes sense to swap them out for each other in recipes. And this is the height of parsnip season, so these muffins are not only logical, they’re practical too.

These muffins are also loaded with walnuts, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Make sure to break one apart while it’s still hot, put a little dab of butter inside, and let the steam and aroma waft up and convince you that parsnips do indeed belong in muffins.  This one has November morning written all over it.

The notion of these muffins has been knocking around in my head for a few weeks.  Why use a parsnip when a carrot will do?  Well, because parsnips are different, and different is good.  They have a subtly different flavor and texture from carrots, and a different set of nutrients as well.  I love to play with new ingredients, it makes baking a morning muffin creative instead of tedious, and biting into it an exciting surprise.

I used half regular flour and half oat flour this time.  When you use oat flour, you ipso facto get a lighter, fluffier muffin. As for flavor, I decided to feature nutmeg, so I went with a generous amount, freshly grated of course.  You really should be using whole nutmeg if you like the spice at all, the first time I grated a nutmeg on a microplane I couldn’t believe how much more vivid it was.  I grated in about 1/4 of a nut into this batter.  I happened to buy some vanilla bean paste the other day, so I experimented with it in these muffins and I have to say I liked it a lot.  It’s an easy way to get those gorgeous vanilla bean specks and a little extra boost of vanilla flavor.

Parsnip Walnut Muffins
makes 12 muffins
oven to 400
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

  • Whisk the wet ingredients together, set aside.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oat flour
heaping 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup grated parsnip (don’t grate them too far in advance or they will brown)
heaping 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure to get the lumps out of the brown sugar.
  • Add the wet to the dry, along with the parsnip and walnuts.  Mix until just combined.
  • Spray a muffin tin and fill with the cups with the batter.  Bake for about 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick comes out without raw batter clinging to it.
  • Cool slightly in the pan before removing the muffins to a cooling rack.

I thought I was being awfully clever with this recipe, but it turns out I’m not the only intrepid parsnip explorer out there …Alton has a muffin, Bea has a savory version, there’s a cake from Not Quite Nigella, and another from mix.bake.stir.  Oh well, I like mine best ;)

One year ago today—

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19 Responses to Parsnip Walnut Muffins

  1. grace says:

    i’ve never even eaten a parsnip, much less baked with one. that said, these sound like tasty muffins and i shall make it a point to round up some parsnips for this very purpose!

  2. Eileen says:

    Ooh, these sound amazing! Why don’t more people bake with the other sweet root veg? I usually don’t even like walnuts in baked goods, but something about this combination sounds so good…

  3. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Parsnip are not a favourite in my house, although I love them. But this is probably the great thing about these muffins the vegetable can be disguised. They sound delicious.

  4. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Sue, these sound just delightful! I love parsnips and have enjoyed making a cake that normally calls for carrots but I’ve never tried muffins, thanks! Oh, and I’m crazy about the vanilla bean paste, I use it all the time. It adds fantastic flavor and, to me, it seems very economical compared to vanilla beans.

  5. Sue,
    I would have never thought to substitute parsnips for carrots…so smart. I can just imagine how wonderful these are in the morning with coffee on Thanksgiving morning…or at the Thanksgiving table.
    annie

  6. katrina hall says:

    Oh, the earthiness of parsnips! This is a gorgeous muffin, Sue!

  7. Cro Magnon says:

    Plenty of Walnuts here, and I love Parsnips. However, I do like my Muffins very slightly burned on both the top and the bottom. Wierd; me?

  8. belleau kitchen says:

    divine… and a health food surely?… love parsnips for their sweetness… these would be nice with a little curry powder in there too!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Love this idea Sue. I just discovered parsnips last year when I tried parsnip soup for the first time. Before that, I use to see them in the grocery store and never really knew what they were. I do love the flavor of them and would love to try them in different recipes.

    I will let you know how things go with my workpress move. Fingers crossed!

  11. Sue these are BRILLIANT!!! Grated parsnips! I have grated zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash, and white potatoes, but never parsnips. Oh I bet the texture is heavenly – and the flavor slightly sweet with a kick. Mmmm, PERFECT!

    And love using oat flour – extra chewiness and more flavor, and great for the texture, too! Love these!

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