Do you ever have crazy dreams?
I sure do, and recently, they’ve been particularly strange. It seems that, when I finally fall asleep these busy days, it doesn’t take long at all before I’m into all sorts of wild dreams, and my nights are as active as my days!
One particularly unusual dream occurred just as my alarm was going off yesterday. I really wasn’t ready to get up, and felt like morning had come way too soon. I sleepily hit the doze button on my phone and was instantly back in lala land. Precisely nine minutes later, the bell alarm went off again, and I repeated the scenario. As the third set of chimes began to ring, a voice in my dreams said the craziest thing. In a frustrated tone of voice, I heard someone say, “We’ve already lit three red candles for her!”
What in the world? I jumped out of bed, laughing to myself, but at the same time, not wanting to know what would happen if “they” had to “light another red candle” for me! What a funny way to start the day!
To be honest, I’d much rather start the day with one of these delicious Gingerbread Morning Glory Muffins. While I love almost every kind of muffin, I know that most are not very healthy and probably not a great way to begin a day. Actually, it would be pretty similar to eating a piece of cake for breakfast, minus the icing! Morning Glory Muffins, on the other hand are loaded with great ingredients; whole wheat flour, lots of shredded carrots, raisins, coconut, diced apple and fresh orange juice. There’s also eggs, oil and brown sugar.
I adapted the traditional Morning Glory recipe to make a fun seasonal muffin, adding cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg along with a splash of molasses for a classic gingerbread flavor. And for just a bit of a splurge, (it is the holiday season after all), I made a simple brown sugar, oatmeal crumble which takes these wonderful muffins right over the top, and makes them a perfect treat for a holiday breakfast or brunch.
Throw together a batch of these Gingerbread Morning Glory Muffins to have on hand for holiday get-togethers. They freeze wonderfully, so you can make them well in advance. They’re perfect for gift-giving; who wouldn’t love a stash of healthy delicious muffins for a little surprise treat? If you have a batch or two tucked away in the freezer, it’s easy to pull out a half dozen, arrange them on a pretty plate and dress it all up with cellophane wrap and a pretty bow.
I just warmed a muffin for myself and one for Scott. I told him that I thought I probably needed to eat one in order to properly finish this post. He thought he needed one too (as my editor), in order to properly encourage me as I wrote the post. “Delicious!” is what we both exclaimed.
Oh, and knowing there’s a bunch of these in the freezer will be sure to entice me to get up with the first alarm for the next week or so. No more “red candles” for this girl! No way!
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- For the gingerbread spice mix:
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- For the topping:
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the muffins:
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, you can also use White Whole Wheat flour if you can't find the whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- gingerbread spice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup shredded coconut, packed
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 medium red apple, cored and diced into small dice
- 2 cups shredded carrot, You can either shred your own or pick up a bag of the pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store.
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 16 muffin cups* or line them with papers.
- For the gingerbread spice mixture, combine all spices and mix well. Set aside.
- For the topping, combine all topping ingredients, except the pecans, in a medium-size bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until crumbly. Add pecans and stir again. Place topping in the refrigerator until ready to add to muffins.
- In a large bowl (I'm talking really big), combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, remaining gingerbread spices and salt. Stir well.
- Add the carrots and coconut, apples and raisins. Stir well and the run your hands through the mixture, breaking up any small clumps of brown sugar, coconut or raisins that remain.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice, molasses 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 wells of the prepared pans, filling about ¾ full.
- Divide the topping mixture evening among the muffins, about one rounded tablespoon per muffin.
- Bake the muffins for 22 to 26 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 15 minutes, and if they seem to be getting quite brown, I cover them with some foil for the last minutes of baking.
- 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.
- Yield: 16 muffins.