The current issue of Cook's Country (April/May 2011) included a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. Apparently they were a pretty common variety of muffin back in the 1970s, but I'd never heard of them before reading this article. A muffin full of carrots, raisins, nuts, coconut, pineapple and apples sure sounded pretty good to me, though!
Something that caught my eye while reading the article was the mention of some other recipes including other ingredients, such as cloves and ginger, that she left out of her recipe. I'm not a huge fan of cloves, but as our regular readers probably remember, I'm a big fan of ginger, so that sounded pretty good to me. This got me curious about what was included in the other recipes out there, so I looked in some cookbooks and online to check some of them out. None of them really had anything else I felt needed to be there, and some suggestions - such as sunflower and sesame seeds - struck me as just plain wrong for these muffins. I did, however, decide on an addition all my own, namely orange zest.
After looking over the Cook's Country recipe and making a few other changes to make it more to my liking, I was ready to try out my own version. I finally made up a batch last Saturday morning, and Juli and I were both quite pleased with the results.
The result was a batch of really, really excellent muffins: Tons of flavor, nicely browned, great texture. Juli and I loved them for breakfast, and warmed up the next day, and when I took the remainder to share with my coworkers, they were a big hit there as well.
As always, I want to give credit where due. In addition to using Sarah Gabriel's recipe in Cook's Country as a starting point, I also followed her suggested techniques, and I believe one of those techniques is a big factor in making these muffins great. Specifically, she came up with the idea of squeezing as much juice as possible out of the apples and crushed pineapple included in the muffins, then cooking that juice down to concentrate the flavor while cutting back the amount of liquid to a reasonable amount. That sounded like a pretty good idea, and I took it further in my own version, adding the juice from the grated ginger and what I could squeeze out of the orange zest and cooking those liquids down as well. I think that touch was a big part of why my muffins ended up with a bold fruit flavor and wonderful texture.
I will definitely be making these again, and probably often. If you try them, I'm pretty sure you'll feel the same way.
Glorious Morning Glory Muffins
yield = 12 muffins
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and shredded
(use large holes of a box grater)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup golden raisins
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
Add coconut and walnuts to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring often, until the coconut has started to brown and the walnuts are fragrant. Transfer to food processor. Finely grind coconut and walnuts, then add flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Pulse until combined, then transfer to a large bowl.
Place pineapple, shredded apple and orange zest in a fine-mesh strainer set over a large liquid measuring cup. Press fruit and zest dry, collecting liquid (probably about 1 cup) in the measuring cup. Add any ginger liquid to this mixture. Bring juice to boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool slightly.
Whisk juice with melted butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture until combined, then add pineapple/apple/orange zest mixture, grated ginger, carrots and raisins and stir to thoroughly mix.
Evenly divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (24-28 minutes). Cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and serve.
Raisins don't stay moist forever, and shrunken, chewy raisins don't make for good muffins, so make sure to use raisins that are soft and moist.
|30 seconds in the microwave and these muffins were just as|
good two days old as they were fresh from the oven.