Parsnip Walnut Muffins

Parsnip Walnut Muffins ~  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 ;)

 

19 Comments

  • Reply
    grace
    November 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Eileen
    November 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    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…

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    November 19, 2012 at 6:29 am

    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.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    November 19, 2012 at 5:21 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks Chris, I’ll have to check out your cake. I think I’m going to love the paste, I’m so in love with the little seeds, and vanilla beans have been skyrocketing in price.

  • Reply
    l o v e l y t h i n g s
    November 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    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

  • Reply
    katrina hall
    November 18, 2012 at 11:49 pm

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

  • Reply
    Cro Magnon
    November 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

    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?

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    November 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

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

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 19, 2012 at 1:39 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Grandy
    November 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      I have to try parsnip soup, that sounds great. In the grocery store parsnips don’t look very appetizing, so I’m not surprised they’re not more popular.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    November 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      The oat flour really does make a difference, and I think lots of fresh nutmeg was also a key factor in how much I liked these. Even when we zapped them in the microwave the next morning you could really smell the nutmeg!

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