So, I started working at a new job last week. A really dreamy job. The kind of job that makes all the years of college and grad school feel worthwhile, like life is finally coming together, and it just feels so good to be there! Over the weekend I channeled my excitement and set out to charm my new co-workers the best way I know: with baked goods. The thing is, most of my co-workers are dietitians… so I really had to bring my “A” game!
I wasn’t really familiar with Morning Glory muffins until recently, but I like the idea of a really busy treat loaded with a variety of healthy ingredients to keep things interesting. There are a million variations for add-ins; you could really use whatever nuts and dried fruit you have in the pantry, but I thought the traditional carrot shreds would be complimented nicely by dates, pecans and coconut. Some recipes include grated apple, which sounds good too, but I decided to replace it with crushed pineapple to further play on the carrot-cake flavors.
I should mention, I have a hard time getting excited about muffins that are too sweet. Not as tasty as a cookie, but just as unhealthy for you? No thanks. But it’s important to understand the functional role of sugar in baked goods: sugar binds water, stealing it away from the flour, which delays the development of gluten, resulting in a softer product. By simply cutting sugar, you can end up with some tough muffins. No good!
It took me a couple of tries to be satisfied with the recipe, but these work out to only one teaspoon of added sugar per muffin, and the texture is still perfectly moist and tender. That moisture comes from Greek yogurt and coconut oil, a double-whammy for supplying the body with lasting energy. They’re also 100% whole grain, with whole-wheat pastry flour and old-fashioned oats. So we’re looking at low-sugar, high-fiber, good fats, whole grains, fruits and veggies, all in one muffin. Not too shabby. But the most important health claim of all?