morning glorious muffins
Getting out of a deliciously warm bed and stepping onto a cold bare floor with the windows revealing nothing of the day but drear and dark –
not to whine – but it’s hard on us humans. Do you like to think we deserve something special for our heroic efforts? On a rainy morning when the only reason we rise is because we must, these, and a mug of steaming hot something, make it one fraction easier to leave our warm comfy beds.
This recipe reads a bit like a carrot cake. Like the cake, and unlike many muffins, it’s chock full of good things our mothers would approve of. It’s deliciously moist, surprisingly light and un-dense. It keeps very well, and it re-heats nicely (if you’re looking around for something to melt your butter on.) But let’s do better for breakfast than carrot cake. We won’t frost them; instead we’ll top with a liberal scattering of healthy walnuts. We’ll only use whole-wheat flour, and we’ll do one better by adding extra wheat-germ. We’ll grate 2 whole cups of carrots, newly-pulled from the good earth, and add a grated tart apple, a handful of shredded coconut, some warming spices and some strewn bits of candied ginger. And after a few warm bites, we can raise what’s left and call it a glorious morning, because what we call it matters maybe even more than how we start it.
morning glorious muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
- ½ cup raisins — (or substitute chopped dried apricots, or dried cranberries, if you’re not a raisin fan)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour — (either the traditional or white whole wheat – same nutritional content)
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
- 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and grated
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – divided — (or substitute pecans, or sunflower seeds)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 1/3 cup unsweetened wheat germ
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease your muffin tin or line with papers and coat with a non-stick spray.
(Excuse me while I digress. I have this muffin “tin” that’s not a tin, but made of silicone instead and I love it. Here’s why: Muffins release easily from it without the addition of oil. They cook beautifully in it – as brown as you like. Washing is easy – you can simply turn the cups inside out and give a little scrub. When not in use, roll it up and stuff it into cramped places. I’ll include a picture of it at the bottom of the post. All that being said, obviously, any muffin pan will do! )
Put the raisins (or the dried fruit of your choice) into a small bowl and cover with hot water to plump. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt together, until thoroughly combined. Stir in the shredded carrots and apple, the coconut, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, finely chopped candied ginger and wheat germ.
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and stir until evenly blended. Drain the raisins well, and add them now.
Divide the batter between 12 muffin cups – they’ll be nearly full, but they won’t overflow. They’ll just dome up beautifully. Scatter with approximately ¼ cup chopped walnuts (or your choice of nut or sunflower seeds.) Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a tooth pick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan, on a rack, for 5 minutes only. Then remove the muffins to the rack to continue cooling.
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(Or of course, you may eat them steamy warm, and I highly recommend you do.)
My silicone pan is actually one made for brioche but I use it for muffins because I love the shape. Here ’tis: