How do you feel about carrots?
I've liked carrots since I was a kid — as long as they weren't canned or mixed with peas, I was happy to eat them. But when I started eating low carb, carrots pretty much vanished from my kitchen.
They taste so sweet, they can't possibly be low carb, I thought. I'd have a baby carrot or two now and then, but I generally avoided doing much with carrots. In all the years Iíve been low carbing, I've never baked with carrots, either, even though I always adored carrot cake in my pre-LC days. From time to time, lately, the idea of carrot cake would pop into my mind, but usually I'd just shake my head and ignore it.
Cooler temperatures have finally arrived here in Arizona, and autumn always puts me in mind of the beautiful colors of falling leaves and fresh-picked produce. Now is the time for fresh cranberries, bright in both flavor and color, and low carb to boot. While stocking up, I was inspired: how about cranberries in a carrot bread? How low carb legal are carrots, anyway?
It turns out that carrots, in moderation, are fine for a low carb recipe. According to the USDA nutrition database, one medium carrot, about 7 inches long, has 30 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. The three carrots called for in this recipe yield a net 15 grams of carbs, which adds up to just a little more than one gram per slice. I can certainly live with that, especially given the nutritional benefits of the beta-carotene and other carotenoid compounds found in carrots — and cooking won't harm these compounds.
I remembered a recipe from my old favorite, Marion Cunningham's The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, in which the carrots and raisins were boiled with spices before hand. The resultant bread was rich and moist, and because the carrots are pre-cooked, the texture is uniformly dense. This is one carrot bread without those annoying dangling carrot threads!
We found the flavors of this bread improved over time. Right out of the oven, the cranberries were almost too tart, and the bread was too crumbly. Wrapped tightly and refrigerated overnight, the flavors combined and the texture firmed up. I doubt it will last more than a few days, but you will find this bread most delicious as the last piece disappears — which I hope will inspire you to make another batch, quickly!
Carrot Raisin Cranberry Bread
1 loaf; 12 generous slices
- 1+1/3 C DaVinci Gourmet
sugar free vanilla syrup
- 4 T butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3 medium carrots (about 7 inches long), grated
- 1/4 C raisins, rough chopped
- 1+1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 C cranberries, fresh or frozen
Combine the sugar free vanilla syrup, butter, salt, spices, carrots and raisins in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
APPROXIMATE NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SLICE:
Meanwhile, combine the flours, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the inside of of a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper, or line the entire pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray for quick cleanup.
When the carrot mixture is cool enough to handle, sift in the dry ingredients, and stir well to combine. Add the chopped nuts and cranberries, and stir to distribute them evenly through the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated 350°F oven for about an hour; test with a toothpick for doneness. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out and cool completely on a rack.
Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator; better flavors develop overnight. I enjoy this as-is, but you can always guild the lily by spreading with butter or softened cream cheese. There's a goodly amount of protein in each slice, so it would make an especially nice breakfast accompaniment.
12 slices per loaf: 235 calories; 19 g fat;
10 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 9 g protein.
A word about the raisins: Donít skip chopping them; with such a small amount, it really does help to distribute the raisin flavor throughout the loaf if you chop them into two or three pieces each. The pieces look tiny but plump up nicely in the cooking beforehand. If you don't want to bother, you can omit the raisins altogether and save about 9 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per slice.
Next month, a new and ambitious cookie for you and your holiday guests. Wish me luck! (Or, send in your questions and comments, I love to read them.) Happy Thanksgiving!
Copyright © November 2006 Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury