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Eric Akis: Start the day right with Morning Glory muffins

These Morning Glory muffins, made with some fibre-rich whole-wheat flour, are stocked with bits of carrots, nuts, coconut, apples and orange zest.
Morning glory muffins are rich with carrot, apples, orange, nuts, coconut and raisins. ERIC AKIS

I enjoy all kinds of muffins, but if had to choose a favourite, morning glory muffins would be at the top of the list. Just the name makes it sound like something very good will come out of the oven when they are baked.

Lore suggest these muffins were created in the late 1970s by a chef named Pam ­McKinstry who owned an eatery on ­Nantucket called the Morning Glory Café.

In 1981, after one of their readers requested it, ­McKinstry’s recipe for morning glory muffins was published in Gourmet magazine. And they contained an appealing mix of such things as grated carrots and apples, shredded coconut, pecans, raisins and cinnamon.

The recipe must have been a hit, because the muffin ­eventually became a very popular baked good in the United States and other places that publication was read, including Canada.

My version of morning glory muffins uses the same ingredients noted above, except I give the option to use walnut or pecans, depending on your preference. For added fibre, in the batter, I also use an equal mix of whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour.

My recipe yields eight large muffins. If that’s too many for you, you could freeze some of the muffins for another time; to thaw, warm in the oven a few minutes and enjoy at another time. You could also try halving the recipe and making four muffins. If you do that, know that a third of a cup equals five tablespoons plus one teaspoon, so half of that would be two tablespoons plus two teaspoons. A quarter of a cup equals four tablespoons and one tablespoon equals three teaspoons.

If you make the muffins on a weekend morning and are having friends over, create a continental-style breakfast/brunch by accompanying them with butter, a wedge or round of cheese, such as Brie, a fresh fruit platter and beverages, such as juice and coffee or tea.

Morning Glory Muffins

Large muffins with some fibre-rich whole-wheat flour in them, stocked with bits of carrots, nuts, coconut, apples and orange zest.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 22 minutes

Makes: eight large muffins

1/3 cup raisins

2 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp finely grated orange zest

1/3 cup orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole-wheat flour (see Eric’s options)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup grated carrot (see Note)

1/2 cup peeled, cored and grated apple (see Note)

1/3 cup walnut pieces or pecan pieces

1/3 cup unsweetened medium coconut flakes

• vegetable oil spray

Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water. Let raisins soak and plump up in the water 30 minutes, or until needed.

To mix the batter’s wet ingredients, place eggs in a medium bowl and beat well. Add the milk, orange zest and juice, oil and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Drain the raisins in a small sieve and squeeze out any excess water from them. Using a spatula or spoon, mix in the carrots, apples, walnuts (or pecans), coconut and raisins.

Make a well in the flour mixture, pour wet ingredients into it, and then mix gently until a well-combined batter is formed.

Lightly coat eight cups of a 12-cup non-stick muffin tin with oil spray. Fill those eight cups with the muffin batter, ensuring it rises above each cup by 3/4‑inch inch or so.

Bake the muffins in the middle of the oven 20 to 22 minutes, or until they spring back when touched in the centre. Let muffins cool 10 minutes, and remove from the tin. Enjoy muffins warm or at room temperature.

Note: One small to medium carrot, and about half a medium to large apple (I used a honey crisp), when peeled and cored, should yield the grated amounts needed here.

Eric’s options: If you don’t have whole-wheat flour, you could replace it with another one cup all-purpose flour.

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Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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