Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Carrot za'atar muffins and lavender kumquat compote

Za'atar--the spice blend of dried thyme, sumac, salt, and sesame seeds--is one of my new favorite flavor profiles. It has that satisfying, almost-umami-y savoriness, with a dash of nuttiness from the sesame seeds and a hint of exoticism from the pucker-y sumac. Of course, after playing around with za'atar in all of the savory dishes I could think of for a while, my eye naturally turned to the dessert possibilities. (Since, you know, I love mixing savory notes into my desserts.)

Here's the result of my first venture: carrot za'atar muffins. To call these a sweet dessert is sort of a misnomer, actually. These muffins are perfect for breakfast because they're just barely sweet. Instead, they're hearty, from the whole wheat flour and shredded carrots, and za'atar fits in perfectly by spicing up the mixture in a more sophisticated way than the traditional cinnamon-and-carrots combo would. To go with, I made a sweet, loose jam-like compote of kumquats, with a woodsy hint of dried lavender (not enough to really tell it's lavender, but enough "darken" the brights of the kumquats). The result: a traditional sort of breakfast with a surprisingly non-traditional blend of flavors-- the perfect way to wake up your taste buds for a new day.

Find the recipe here, on the Anthology Magazine blog.


  1. What intriguing flavors you have here! I love a good savory muffin. I have yet to experiment with za'atar (and sumac), but it sounds delicious!

  2. These look delicious Stephanie! Gorgeous pictures, intriguing flavors.

  3. Tess @ Tips on Life & LoveMarch 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    These are definitely more exciting (and delicious looking) than the average blueberry muffin. I can't wait to try this! Thanks for helping me shake up my breakfast routine.

  4. Warm Vanilla SugarMarch 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    These muffins are stunning! So much goodness!

  5. Carol at Wild Goose TeaMarch 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    The muffin recipe is quite intriguing, but what is ringing my bells are the absolutely outstanding artistic photos. The intensity of the colors with the kumquats and rannnuculous (I think---and I know it's spelled wrong) was absolutely splendid. Wow to eat one of those exotic muffins with those flowers and colors, what a sensory experience that would be. The next town over from me ---Sequim, Wa is really a developing lavender growing area. Wonderful farms and lavender easily had to use in many ways.

  6. Wow!! Looks awesome. Very creative. These Muffins urges to eat! http://www.dietingrevisited.com/

  7. What a great idea! Za'atar is one of my favorite blends, and the tangy sumac will go great in a muffin. Wish I had thought of this!! :-)


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