Halloween Carrot Muffins

Halloween Carrot MuffinsOlder children could make these on their own, with an adult just keeping an eye on things, or you can make the muffins up and let younger kids decorate them when they’ve cooled.

Writing icing is available from the bakery section in good supermarkets - for example, Superquinn have Dr Oetker Writing Icing at €4.62 for a pack 5 individual tubes of red, yellow, black, white and green icing and there’s also a Supercook range that should be easy to find. Kitchen Complements (www.kitchencomplements.ie) stock the Wilton range of writing icing and they also have various Hallowe’en themed cookie cutters etc.

You can also get instant royal icing, which you could colour up to match your own theme.

Makes 12

200g/7oz soft light brown sugar
200ml/7floz sunflower oil
2 medium eggs
200g/7oz plain flour
2.5ml/1/2 tsp baking powder
2.5ml/1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
5ml/1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g/7oz carrots, peeled and grated
50g/2oz walnut pieces, chopped
5ml/1 tsp vanilla essence

For the icing:

225g/ 8oz icing sugar, sifted
25g/1oz unsalted butter
75g/3oz chilled full fat cream cheese
food colouring and writing icing

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Line a deep 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2. Place the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl, then beat together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Sift over the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon then fold in until well mixed. Fold in the carrots, walnuts and vanilla essence.

3. Divide the mixture between the paper cake cases. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until golden, risen and the middle bounces back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. For the icing: Use an electric whisk to beat the icing sugar and butter together in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and briefly beat together again until just combined. Don’t overbeat or it will become runny. Spread the icing over the muffins, then let the kids go mad icing the cakes with spooky characters.

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