The Muffin Holy Grail

by Elissa

I have been on a multi-year quest to find the perfect muffin recipe.  I love to bake and my kids generally love muffins, but it's hard to find a recipe for muffins that both taste good and offer some nutritional benefits. Anyone can make delicious muffins using plenty of sugar, butter and white flour. The good news is that I've found a recipe for morning glory muffins that meets my nutritional and tastiness requirements. Just look at all the good stuff that goes into these muffins.

Clockwise from the left that's carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts, and coconut

Clockwise from the left that's carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts, and coconut

The bad news is that it's a bit of a hassle to grate the carrots and apple. But the end result is awfully good, so I can't complain too much. The original recipe comes from my friends at King Arthur Flour, but I've played around with it a little bit. The recipe uses all whole wheat flour, but the texture is great and the muffins don't have any of that often telltale bitterness that you get with whole grain baking.

The finished product

The finished product

They may look a little homely, but these are some of the best muffins to come out of my kitchen. We like them with cream cheese, which makes for a breakfast-y version of carrot cake. And they are substantial enough that a single muffin will tide me over for the better part of a morning.

These muffins keep for a few days at room temperature. I usually end up freezing whatever we haven't eaten by day 2--the frozen muffins can be reheated in the microwave or the toaster.

Morning Glory Muffins (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup flax seed meal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Preheat oven to 375 and grease muffin pans (I usually get about 16 muffins from this recipe). In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water and let sit for a few minutes.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, salt, and flax seed meal.  Stir in the carrots, apples, coconut, and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir to combine. Drain the raisins and add them to the batter. Use an ice cream scoop to barely fill the muffin wells. Bake for 22-28 minutes.