Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins + Healthy Baby Snack Ideas

Having healthy snacks on hand is a must when you have a little one.  These Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are a great freezer-friendly option to have on hand at a moment’s notice, plus I’m sharing some of my other favorite healthy baby foods for snacking!

A tall stack of Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins leaning against a carafe of milk.

If you’re always on the lookout for simple, healthy snacks for your little ones, these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are for you! In fact, they’re not just for your little ones, they’re also great for YOU. Healthy baby food that mamas and papas can also enjoy? Sign me up! These are sure to please even the pickiest eaters and, since they’re only sweetened with applesauce and made with whole grains, you don’t have to worry when your kids keep on going back for more.

As I mentioned in this Healthy Carrot Cake Pancake Recipe post, we opted to do baby-led weaning with our little one and she has shown no sensitivities to eggs, other dairy, gluten, etc. If your little one HAS shown sensitivities to any of these, obviously use your best judgment. Again, mother always knows best!

Freshly baked Pumpkin Carrot Muffins in a muffin tin.

These Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are exactly what they say: super easy! I mean, if you know how to stir a spoon and you know how to operate an oven, you’re in good shape here. Just the kind of healthy snack we need when we have our hands full with young babes, am I right?

These muffins also happen to freeze well, so if you have a minute to bake some up this weekend, you’ll have the perfect healthy snack for your whole family for the next week (if you’re lucky.)

A Pumpkin Carrot Muffin broken in half, served next to a warm drink.

While we’re on the topic of healthy baby food, I thought it might be helpful if I share some more of my favorite make-ahead snacks that family members of all ages will enjoy.

Multigrain crackers with peanut butter

Quick tip: Make your own! Sometimes those pre-made ones you can buy at the store are full of random ingredients. Also, when buying peanut butter, always be sure to check the ingredients list and make sure that peanuts are the only ingredient. (This goes for all nut butters.)

String Cheese with sliced grapes

This is a great mix of protein and healthy carbs, and almost always a hit with the little ones.

veggie- and fruit-packed popsicles

I mean, what baby or kid turns down a popsicle?? Check out some fun baby-friendly popsicle recipes in my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

Now, your turn to tell me: What are your favorite healthy baby foods?

And read on for my Healthy Pumpkin Carrot Muffin recipe!

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: after-school, baby-friendly, breakfast, carrot, freezer-friendly, kid-friendly, muffin, naturally sweetened, pumpkin, snack
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup spiralized or grated carrot
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. 

  3. Add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, milk and orange zest and stir until combined. Stir in carrot.

  4. Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin tins and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

  5. Cool in muffin tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. 

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Holiday Baked Goods

Looking to bake up the perfect holiday treat? These are the Top 15 Holiday Baked Goods recipes on CaliGirl Cooking!

Chocolate Panettone | CaliGirl Cooking

Wow, what a week it has been! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably already know that I am currently up at my parents’ house in Santa Cruz with Baby Raia avoiding the smoke and fires that have descended on our poor little city of Santa Barbara since last Monday evening. We stuck it out until last Thursday, but when the air got so bad that I could see and smell the smoke seeping into our house I knew it was time to take baby girl and her precious new lungs and hit the road.

As of right now our home is not in an evacuation zone, although many of our friends’ and family’s homes, including my brother’s have been under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders for going on five days now. Santa Barbara has turned into a virtual ghost town and looks alarmingly apocalyptic. Who knows how long we’ll be up north breathing in as much fresh air as we can (a bit of the smoke has even made its way up here, but nowhere near as bad as it is further south), but in the meantime we’re trying to pass the time with getting as ready for Christmas as we can, which includes baking up a ton of delicious holiday goodies!

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

That being said, since my normal schedule has been thrown for a bit of a loop, I thought it would be fun to spend this week rounding up some of my top holiday recipes in different categories. Today I’ll be sharing my most popular holiday baked goods, Friday we’re talking all things cocktails (and mocktails!) and on Monday we’ll go for appetizers. I had a ton of fun looking through my archives to put these lists together, and I know you’ll find at least one thing you’ll want to add to you holiday cooking and baking list in the next two weeks!

So, without further ado, I bring you The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Holiday Baked Goods.

These Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut "Grutch" Bars are a holiday favorite and are so easy to make!

1. CHOCOLATE, BUTTERSCOTCH AND COCONUT GRUTCH BARS
2. CHOCOLATE PANETTONE
3. CHOCOLATE DIPPED CRANBERRY WALNUT BISCOTTI

Homemade Caramel Covered Scotch Kisses are the perfect holiday gift.

4. HOMEMADE CARAMEL COVERED MARSHMALLOW KISSES
5. PEPPERMINT BARK BROWNIES
6. SAVORY PROSCIUTTO-SAGE-GRUYERE BREAD PUDDING
7. CHUNKY MONKEY CINNAMON ROLLS WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE
8. CHOCOLATE BRIE DESSERT PIZZA WITH ALMOND ORANGE SHORTBREAD CRUST

Chocolate Brie Dessert Pizza with Almond-Orange Shortbread Crust | CaliGirl Cooking

9. PEPPERMINT CHOCOHOLIC COOKIES
10. WEEKEND HAZELNUT STICKY BUNS WITH DATE CARAMEL
11. BUTTERSCOTCH APPLE OATMEAL COOKIES WITH BOURBON GLAZE
12. PUMPKIN POPOVERS

A batch of easy Pumpkin Popovers fresh out of the oven and ready to be eaten!

13. SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE BABKA
14. CREAM CHEESE-Y PUMPKIN PIE
15. CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHUNK MUFFINS WITH CHOCOLATE STREUSEL

What are your favorite baked good recipes for the holidays? I’d love to give some a try while we’re on our #evacuationvacation so leave the links or recipes below!

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins

These Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are full of healthy ingredients like pureed pumpkin, heart-healthy macadamia nuts and fiber-filled coconut flour.

These Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are full of healthy ingredients like coconut flour, pumpkin and macadamia nuts.

I hope you’re not too sick of pumpkin just yet, because these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are incredibly worthy of your breakfast table this week and all the weeks remaining that are perfectly acceptable to eat all things pumpkin at every meal.

True to their name, these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are a snap to make. They are also incredibly moist (gotta love pumpkin in baked goods for that very fact alone) and not only loaded with the healthy orange stuff, but also tons of protein and Vitamin A from toasted macadamia nuts.

There’s also a fun twist to the base of these muffins that I stole from my friends at Big Sur Bakery – I used half good ol’ AP flour and half coconut flour to give them an extra tropical twist (and more healthy protein, fiber and fats.) Let me just tell you, if you haven’t tried baking with coconut flour yet, give it a shot! It adds a wonderful, crumbly texture and nice coconut-y flavor. I’m no expert in gluten-free baking, but I will say that I have found I still need to use some of the regular flour to hold everything together, otherwise everything just falls apart, but if any of you GF eaters out there have any suggestions on how to get things to hold together without it, I’m all ears!

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are incredibly moist and perfect for a fall breakfast!

I love these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins because they are not overly sweet and therefore perfectly justifiable to enjoy for breakfast, a snack or even a healthy(ish) dessert. However, if you feel like adding a bit of indulgence, I think a dash of white chocolate chips would just be BOMB in these and if you end up doing this please bring me some because I really want to try it and right now I’m laid up in bed with the most adorable cuddly newborn ever with no heavy baking plans in my immediate future.

With the fall season in full swing, you most likely have all of these ingredients on hand or fairly readily available to you at a moment’s notice. You can find coconut flour at your local health food store (or gourmet grocery store) and the ½ cup of macadamia nuts the recipe calls for is well worth the little splurge (News Flash: Macadamia nuts are not cheap.)

A cooling rack of freshly baked Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins.

Once you have all the ingredients, the muffins come together in just about 30 minutes. I would also like to mention that they freeze beautifully, so if you’re looking for a tasty make-ahead breakfast you can have ready in a flash on a busy holiday morning, these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are the answer.

Long story short: You need to make these muffins ASAP and tell me what you think. Be sure to tag me in all of your CaliGirl Cooking adventures on social media @caligirlcooking #caligirlcooking. Xx

A basket of Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins is the perfect breakfast for a busy fall morning.

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

These easy muffins are full of healthy ingredients like pureed pumpkin, heart-healthy macadamia nuts and fiber-filled coconut flour.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and either line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray it with cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add both sugars and the eggs and mix on medium-low until combined. 

  4. Add in the pumpkin, almond milk and vanilla extract and mix again until combined. 

  5. Mix in the dry ingredients, then stir in the orange zest and macadamia nuts.

  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan then remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze

Light and fluffy cupcakes filled with the delicate flavors of lavender and vanilla, perfectly contrasted by a tart blood orange glaze.

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Happy birthday to me! That’s right, it’s my birthday! The big 3-2 to be exact (ugh) but hey, at least I’m celebrating with Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze! And for someone that didn’t even plan what she wanted to do to celebrate until, ohhhhh, last week (thanks to lots of pressure from my hubs and friends,) I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start.

(I’m clearly on a big lavender kick right now – did you catch the Spiked Lavender Lemonade I posted on Friday? So refreshing and tasty!)

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Is it just me, or is your 32nd birthday just sort of “meh?” I mean, I certainly went all out for the big 3-0, and might find some inspiration when I hit number 35, but it seems like all of the birthdays in between those milestones kind of just come and go without much pomp and circumstance. Especially when your birthday falls on a Wednesday, how un-fun is that?

So, after I kept getting nagged about what I wanted to do to celebrate, and after avoiding the question for as long as I could, I finally decided I wanted to keep it casual with Happy Hour at our local waterfront bar/restaurant, and let friends and family stop by whenever they wanted.  We celebrated with our parents this past weekend, and if you ask me, that’s all this gal needs to celebrate another trip around the sun!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

To be honest, I first made these Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze a few weeks ago, when I decided it was high time for me to add another cupcake recipe to this here blog. It has, after all, been almost exactly one year since I posted the only other cupcake recipe on this site – these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream – which BTW would be perfect for you to whip up for St. Patrick’s Day on Friday!

I was trying to decide what flavor I wanted to make my cupcakes this time around, and remembered I had a big jar of culinary grade lavender that my parents had given me a while back. We all know that culinary grade lavender isn’t exactly something you reach for in your pantry on the reg, so it had been sitting in there practically untouched ever since I got it. I knew it would be perfect to integrate into a spring-friendly cupcake, but that it might need a little assistance from some other amazing flavors to keep it from tasting too much like soap (side note – this can easily happen if you use your lavender in the wrong context, like adding lavender syrup to your brewed coffee, don’t do it.)

Lucky for us, vanilla is a great complimentary flavor for lavender, and also perfect in cupcakes! I’ve talked about it before, but I swear by this creamy vanilla bean paste that I order on Amazon. It’s a little pricy, but you get a HUGE bottle and it lasts for such a long time! I highly recommend you order some if you bake nearly as much as I do.

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

With all of the soft, floral notes I was going for in the cupcakes, I knew I wanted a stark contrast in flavors for the frosting. I happened to still have quite a few blood oranges on hand from my winter stockpile, so instead of a buttercream or whipped cream frosting, I decided to top the cakes with a tart, blood orange glaze.

Turns out, my instincts were spot on and these cupcakes turned out perfectly balanced yet full of flavor. They’re also not overly sweet, which means you could totally get away with calling them muffins and eating them for breakfast. It’s my birthday after all, so I give you full permission. Cheers to another year and thanks for celebrating with me!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Light and fluffy cupcakes filled with the delicate flavors of lavender and vanilla, perfectly contrasted by a tart blood orange glaze. 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons culinary lavender, ground (I used a mortar and pestle for this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla until combined. 

  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, lavender, baking soda and salt, then add this mixture to the wet mixture, beating until just combined. 

  4. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop batter into cupcake pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before topping with the glaze. 

  5. While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain. 

  6. Once cupcakes are cool, spoon glaze evenly over cupcake tops. Let glaze dry completely before serving. 

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel

These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel are loaded with chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries and topped with a double chocolate streusel – perfect to serve during the holidays!

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

We all know that the eating frenzy that is known as Thanksgiving does not end on Thursday night. No, no, no, it runs straight through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, whether you’re crazy enough to hit the Black Friday sales or digging out your Christmas decorations. Which is why we need something like these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel in our arsenal. A quick, easy, tasty breakfast loaded with a double dose of chocolate? I like it. I like it a lot.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re heading up to the Bay Area tonight, so I’ve spent the last couple of days cooking up whatever we’d be able to transport easily. The hubs and I are lucky that we can drive to our Thanksgiving destination, so we usually load a cooler or two in the car with treats that we’ve made to help take some of the cooking pressure off of our parents. This time around, I’m bringing up some Sweet Potato Casserole Babka, a delicious Pumpkin-Walnut Pate I just whipped up (recipe coming to the blog soon!), Jessica’s White Cheddar, Toasted Almond and Crispy Sage Cheese Ball, and of course some of these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel!

Let me tell you a little bit about these muffins, because they are (sing it with me) “FAAAB-U-LOUSSS!!” They also happen to be the very first muffin recipe I’ve posted on this here blog. Can you believe it? I can’t, seeing as muffins (specifically, muffin tops) are one of my favorite types of baked goods. I kid you not, I’m that gal who will go buy a muffin strictly for its huge, crunchy top and discard the rest. My own special kind of balance, I guess?

The great news about these muffins, though, is that you are going to want to eat the whole. entire. thing. How can you not when they are laced with huge chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries, and an oh-so-perfect hint of orange? Um, yea, did I mention they’re also topped with the crunchiest, chocolatey-est chocolate streusel of all time?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Quick confession: I actually used the chocolate streusel recipe from this Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake by Hungry Girl Por Vida, and just cut it in half to use on the muffins. I’ve made this Crumb Cake two years in a row (a rare feat in the life of a food blogger) and it is soooo delicious. I especially love that it involves both cocoa powder AND chocolate chunks, so you get a double dose of that rich flavor. I knew it would be the perfect accessory for muffins already laced with chocolate chunks and cranberries.

The batter comes together quickly and easily, with all of the basic ingredients. And although I used fresh cranberries in this recipe, you could easily sub in frozen, as sometimes those are a bit easier to come by.

These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel are truly so delicious and the perfect precursor to a day of chopping down your Christmas tree or watching football and chowing on leftovers. They’re also the perfect way to segue into the Christmas season, because Christmas means all things cranberry and chocolate, right?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

One final note: these muffins are perfect candidates for a little freezer action. Just be sure to freeze them in a solid container (and then transfer to something like a Ziploc if necessary afterwards) so as not to lose all of that delicious chocolate crumble on top!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m hoping to start my holiday weekend a little early with a lunch date with my honey. I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving, full of quality time with friends, family and other loved ones. In a time of such political upheaval and uncertainty, it’s important to remember all that we have to be thankful for! XO

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A festive muffin for holiday breakfasts, loaded with chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries and topped with a double chocolate streusel!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the chocolate streusel:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
For the muffins:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (okay to use almond milk or other milk alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. First, make the chocolate streusel. In a small mixing bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Blend using fingers (or a pastry blender) until mixture resembles wet sand and butter is at least in pea size chunks. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside. 

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange zest until well combined. Set aside. 

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chunks. 

  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about ¾ of the way up. Top each muffin with a generous amount of streusel.

  6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. 

Recipe Notes

Streusel recipe from Hungry Girl Por Vida’s Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Breakfast never looked so good.