This is a modified version of a muffin recipe from a Company's Coming book. I make them a little differently every time, but they're always tasty, and make a perfect snack for kids. If you check labels when selecting ingredients, you can make sure they're nut-free (always a requirement for daycare and school snacks). I've added a list of variations at the end, so you can use whatever you have on hand or like best.
Tasty Spiced Muffins
1 batch makes 12 regular, or 24-30 mini muffins
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Preheat the oven to 400 F and line or oil your muffin tins.
In a medium bowl, mix the first set of ingredients in the order listed. Set aside.
In a second larger bowl, mix the second set of ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients from the first bowl, and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined (if you over-mix, they will be tough and full of holes).
Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes*, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Pumpkin: replace the 1 cup of grated carrot with 1 cup of cooked and pureed squash/pumpkin
Applesauce: replace the 1 cup of grated carrot with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
Fresh Apple: replace the 1 cup of grated carrot with 1 cup of grated apple (cored and peeled)
Zucchini: replace the 1 cup of grated carrot with 1 cup of grated zucchini
*Depending on the variation you choose, the batter will be a bit wetter or drier; but I find they all work just fine, simply requiring slightly different baking times.
And if you're in the mood for something sweeter, check out the spiced cupcake recipe on my friend's blog. She even has pretty photos to go with hers.