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Start your mornings with these carrot, zucchini, banana muffins

They’re packed with goodness to get your day started right.

The original Morning Glory Muffin was created on Nantucket Island in 1978 for the Morning Glory Cafe. The recipe was first published in Gourmet Magazine in 1981. In 1991, the recipe was chosen as one of the magazine’s 25 favorite recipes from the past 50 years.

A blast from my hippie past, it is a very dense muffin with no topping and kind of a flat top. The original recipe has lots of sugar, coconut, raisins, apples, pineapple and pecans. Start your healthier eating resolution for the new year with this hearty and satisfying muffin.

I added a crunchy nutty topping to my version, and made it with white whole wheat flour, oatmeal and ground flax meal. It is moist and not too dense. For even more flavor, I use grated carrots, zucchini and banana — a delicious taste combination.

This muffin is a great way to introduce rib-sticking ingredients to your morning. The “glory” of this muffin is that it actually tastes better a day after baking, when all the spices and flavors have married. The muffins are protein-packed, portable and freezable. And did I mention very versatile in substituting your favorite mix-ins? How about grated apples, pineapple, raisins or shredded coconut? For more protein, add chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter.

And how easy are these muffins to make? Just three bowls, a few vigorous stirs, a sprinkle-on topping and a quick bake in the oven. Your reward is a crunchy, tangy, rich muffin that will make your day gloriously delicious.

Glorious Good Morning Muffins

Morning glory muffins with carrots, zucchini and banana.
Morning glory muffins with carrots, zucchini and banana. [ MICHELLE STARK | Tampa Bay Times ]

For the muffin batter:

2 large carrots, peeled and grated (about ½ cup)

1 medium zucchini, skin on, grated just to the seeds (about ½ cup)

1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour

½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal

¼ cup ground flax meal

¾ cup cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 very ripe bananas

½ cup canola oil

½ cup applesauce, sweet or unsweetened

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

½ cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, or Demerara sugar

1 teaspoon canola oil

Make the muffin batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup regular-sized muffin pan with paper liners. Spray the inside of the liners very lightly with cooking spray.

With a box grater using the large holes, grate both the carrots and the zucchini. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, from the flour through the salt.

In another large mixing bowl, add the bananas and mash with a fork. Whisk in the canola oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold in the grated carrots and zucchini.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl with the flour mixture. Pour in the banana mixture and stir the mixture just until evenly moistened. Do not overmix; a few lumps remaining are okay. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes to hydrate the flour and oats.

Make the topping: In a small mixing bowl, toss together the sliced almonds, honey, turbinado sugar and canola oil.

Fill each muffin cup almost to the top. Sprinkle the sliced almond topping over each muffin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are nicely risen and a tester comes out clean but with moist crumbs attached.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a rack to finish cooling before storage. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freeze for longer storage.

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski

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