A Squared: Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

Monday, April 18, 2016

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

A few months back during my first trimester, I was on my way to a hair appointment when hunger struck. Especially at that point in my pregnancy, I needed to have a full belly pretty much all the time to avoid feeling nauseous. There's a Peet's Coffee a few blocks away from my salon, so I made a quick stop there to pick up a quick snack. And that's when I fell in love with the morning glory muffin and started a ritual of stopping in to pick one up before every hair appointment. I have a lot of hair... I can be in that chair for hours. I can't go that long without eating these days!

So, after my latest appointment (and latest muffin snack), I decided it was time I figured out how to make these muffins myself. Morning glory muffins are a bit old school and come to find out, there's no one way or right way to make them-- they can include zucchini or carrots, apples or pineapple, raisins, coconut, applesauce, a variety of nuts... And with that, I decided to create my own version with my favorite ingredients and a healthier spin so that I can feel good about eating them at home.

These are by no means pretty muffins, but they're loaded with fiber and nutrients and still taste good so who really cares what they look like? My morning glory muffins begin with a base of shredded carrots, shredded Granny Smith apple, and whole wheat flour. I mixed in a variety of other healthy ingredients that add great flavor and texture like raisins, pecans, sunflower seeds, and big flakes of coconut. Sweetness and moisture is where healthy muffins usually disappoint, but these morning glory muffins strike a really nice balance of both. The grated carrots and apple definitely helps to keep things moist without a ton of butter or oil, but the rest of it is really due to a combination of crushed pineapple, orange juice, and a little brown sugar (about half the amount that you'd normally find in a muffin recipe). The result is a not-too-sweet muffin with some great nutty flavor that's still super moist.


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple in juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with papers or lightly spray the cups and set aside.

Add raisins to a small bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside to soak.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, nuts, and sunflower seeds or wheat germ. 
In a separate medium bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, orange juice, and pineapple. Pour into to the flour mixture, and stir until moistened and incorporated.
Drain the raisins well and fold them into the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the inner muffins comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then turn out of pans to finish cooling on a rack.

Inspired by original recipe c/o King Arthur Flour. 

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