One of those “never-fail” recipes but also super delicious and loaded with healthy ingredients at the same time.
I love the fact that we have all sorts of “destinations” within walking distance of our home. Even on the coldest winter days, Scott and I bundle up, donning hats, gloves, boots – whatever the weather calls for, and take a nice brisk walk. We have restaurants, grocery stores, thrift shops, you-name-it, all within a mile or two.
One of our very favorite places to walk is Whole Foods. It’s a little farther than the others, but we think of lots of excuses to head that way. Sometimes there’s just one thing on my grocery list, but we make this market the goal of our expedition anyway, and enjoy roaming the aisles and the beautiful produce section, usually leaving with much more than the lone item we started out for.
I love checking out the baked goods there, and recently got hooked on the Morning Glory Muffins. Although Morning Glory Muffins have been around for a long time, it seems their deliciousness never grows old. They’re sweet, moist and usually filled with lots of fresh carrots, shredded apples, raisins, coconut and walnuts. I was thrilled to find that they’re also made with whole wheat flour.
The muffins at Whole Foods are kind of pricey, so I decided to try making something similar myself for a breakfast and/or snacking option. Although Whole Foods actually has a recipe on their website for Morning Glory Muffins, I chose a recipe from King Arthur Flour to base my muffins on.
Why? Well, whenever I’m looking for a good recipe online, I always click on the “images” option at the top of the search page. There’s an old saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words” – it’s so true, and is very helpful to me when I’m trying to decide on a recipe.
Yup, me too.
Once that decision was made, I had some fun with the King Arthur recipe. I swapped out dried cranberries for the raisins, exchanged a generous dose of pecans for the walnuts and left the nutritious red skin on the apples.
Instead of adding the pecans to the batter, I used them for a “candied” topping. I combined them with sunflower seeds, honey, salt and a bit of oil and then roasted them for 10 minutes while I was putting together the muffin batter. The topping came out of the oven golden and glistening and, along with a sprinkle of Demera sugar, added a beautiful and delicious finishing touch to my muffins.
I’ve served these Morning Glory Muffins with Candied Pecan Topping several times recently, and everyone seems to go crazy over them. They disappear quickly and I love that they can be baked ahead and stored in the freezer. An overnight thaw or a quick stint in the microwave and they’re just like fresh baked.
These rustically beautiful muffins are loaded with fiber and lots of great nutrients. I find that one muffin keeps me satisfied all morning. It makes me a happy camper when there’s a stash in the freezer that we can enjoy for a quick, healthy breakfast with a cup of coffee or glass of milk.
Whip up a batch of these delicious Morning Glory Muffins with Candied Pecan Topping. I call it a “no fail” recipe, as every time I make them, they come out high-domed, beautiful and super moist.
I think you’ll agree and these muffins will go on your “frequent flyer list” too as they are now on mine! Thanks Whole Foods for such great inspiration!
P.S. I did find that the recipe makes more than indicated on the King Arthur site. They instruct to fill the muffin cups “almost to the top”. I did fill them nice and high, but instead of 12, I was able to get 16 really nice size muffins from the recipe.
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- For the candied pecan topping:
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup salted, roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- For the muffins:
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, I have also used white whole wheat flour with good results
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded carrot, sometimes when I'm in a hurry, I pick up a bag of the pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store.
- ½ cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, packed
- 1 large red, crisp apple, cored and diced into small, approximate ¼-inch
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil, I like sunflower oil, but any neutral flavored oil would be fine
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Turbinado Sugar, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 16 muffin cups* or line them with papers. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray or rub with a paper towel and a bit of oil.
- Combine pecans and sunflower seeds on the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with the honey and olive oil. Stir to coat seeds with honey mixture (don't worry if the honey seems to stick to just some of the nut mixture, it will all come together in the oven). Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 4 minutes. Stir to redistribute and bake another 2-3 minutes or until pecans are light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Stir once or twice during cooling to keep mixture from clumping together.
- In a large bowl (I'm talking really big), combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir well.
- Add the carrots and coconut, apples and dried cranberries. Stir well and the run your hands through the mixture, breaking up any small clumps of brown sugar, coconut or cranberries that remain.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Stir till smooth.
- Add egg mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened (mixture will be quite thick).
- Divide the batter among the cup wells of the prepared pans, filling almost to the top (about ⅞ full).
- Divide the candied pecan mixture evenly among the muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with about ½ teaspoon of Demera sugar.
- Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until they're nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the inner muffins comes out clean. I like to check them at about 20 minutes and if they are getting fairly brown, but are still a little doughy in the centers, cover them with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling. Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap or a zippered storage bag, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze* for longer storage.
When I freeze any type of baked goods, I place them in the freezer on a pan, unwrapped. Once they are frozen, I throw them into a zippered plastic bag or a storage container. That way they don't get crushed or stuck to each other as they are freezing. I love these Rubbermaid Storage Containers. They stack so nicely and you get a ton of them in a set.