Morning Glory Muffins

I have been wanting nothing but baked goods lately, and I figured that if I'm going to eat baked goods, I should attempt to make them healthy ones and got out the Kitchen Aid.

Enter Morning Glory Muffins.

In December, I polled friends for the best pumpkin bread recipe, and was directed to a recipe for Squash Bread from the Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook.  Squash Bread was a revelation, and I prompty purchased the cookbook.  It's one of the best cookbooks I've owned, the kind where every recipe is amazing.  Not a dud in there that I've tried so far!

This is where I found the recipe for today's muffins.  Chock full of fruit and nuts, and they really do live up to their name (ahem), a connection I didn't even make until someone asked me, "well, do they work?"

I guess my first thought at the name was of the flower, but just look at the healthy cast of characters.  You make the call.

I couldn't help but tweak the original recipe to make it even healthier, since I was planning on eating a lot of these muffins.  I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for half the white flour.  More fiber, are you crazy?  Maybe.  Probably.

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 18 regular size muffins or 12 regular plus some minis (great for little hands and, let's face it, soo much cuter)

Oven to 350

1/2 cup seedless organic raisins
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, then cooled and chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (plain ol' whole wheat flour would be great, too)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 t cinnamon (just eyeball it)
1 1/2 t baking soda (don't eyeball this one)
1/4 t salt
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 organic Granny Smith, peeled and grated
3/4 c chopped pineapple (canned is ok, fresh is better)
3 eggs
1/4 c canola oil (next time I'm using coconut oil for sure)
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut (look for this in the bulk section!)
1/3 c coarse raw sugar

Don't skip toasting the walnuts - it brings out their flavor and makes your kitchen smell heavenly.

Put raisins in a small bowl and fill with hot tap water.  Drain after 10 minutes or so of soaking.

Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a big bowl.  In another, combine raisins, walnuts, carrot, apple, pineapple, eggs, oil, melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and coconut.  Mix with a wooden spoon.  Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Don't overmix or you'll have hard little death cookies instead of muffins.

Spoon batter into oiled or papered muffin tins, filling them quite full since they don't rise much.  I could have filled them more full (see picture).  

Sprinkle coarse, raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) atop each muffin.  It doesn't take much, but don't skip this step.  It gives a sweet little crunch and a bit of a glaze to the top of your Glories.

Bake until lightly browned: 35 minutes for regular sized muffins, and 20 minutes for minis in silicone mini muffin pans.

Have some right out of the oven.  Why wait?  It's practically a fruit salad it's so healthy (I get great joy from being a baked-goods-enabler).  Don't think about the almost-a-whole-stick-a-buttah.  In fact, a little salted butter on these muffins is really good. 

These little muffins are quite sturdy, and stay fresh for about a day loosely covered on the counter.  The minis are a great addition to your little one's lunchbox, too.

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