Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

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. ButΒ the most important health claim of all?


Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. rolled oats
2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a muffin pan (or use muffin liners).

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix together yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, pineapple, and carrot. When the mixture is smooth, fold in the dates, coconut, and pecans. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined; the batter will be quite thick. Divide the batter equally among the muffin tins; in a standard size pan, the batter should reach the top of the mold. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining oats and coconut flakes. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.

7 thoughts on “Morning Glory Muffins”

  1. These look utterly fantastic. In the past year I’ve gotten so into making “healthy” versions of muffins, cakes, cookies… to me they’re even better!

    1. Thanks!! I’m totally with you. Whole grains are just more flavorful and textural, and without a boatload of sugar… you can actually taste the ingredients! Real food tastes good!

  2. Nutritionally these are very impressive! and they look scrumptious too! Can’t wait to try! I really need to do more baking with whole wheat flour, I’m always afraid it’s going to make my baked goods dry. But these don’t look dry at all.

    1. Thanks! This recipe really does come out with great texture for being 100% whole grain. Definitely pick up a bag of whole wheat pastry flour… it’s magic!

    1. I wish you would elaborate a little so I could better respond to your perspective… but generally, I think assigning particular foods as “healthy” or “not healthy” is problematic. A person may be healthy or unhealthy resulting from the combination of foods they eat – we all know that eating a balanced variety of nutritious foods promotes good health. But there’s the key word: nutritious. If we isolate foods from the total dietary pattern, we can only evaluate them on that level, because they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Dietary context is key. A kale salad is very nutritious, but if you eat kale salad exclusively, you are unlikely to maintain good health. Likewise, these muffins are nutritious. They contain many nutrient-rich ingredients – nuts, carrots, fruit, eggs, yogurt, and whole grains (which many studies have linked to lower risk of chronic diseases). They also have far less refined flour and sugar then the average muffin – but they’re still muffins, and they still fit into the dietary pattern as a “treat.”

      For anyone reading who is interested in this line of thinking, the examples I gave above were inspired by a Washington Post article by Michael Ruhlman that I can’t get out of my head – highly recommended! – No food is healthy. Not even kale.

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