Apple and Carrot Morning Glory Muffins
A breakfast or anytime muffin filled with apples, carrots, pecans and whole grains making this my most nutritious and healthy muffin recipe. Maple syrup, reduced apple cider, unsweetened applesauce, and warm fall spices offer natural sweetness without the need for refined sugars. Olive oil and Greek yogurt create a light, tender and tasty crumb. These muffins are packed with good nutrition, are easy to make, and can provide a healthy start to your day.
Healthy Ingredients and Baking Tips
- Apples A variety of apples can be used in this recipe. I used a combination of 2 types of baking apples, a Northwestern Greening apple and a Wealthy apple. Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples work well to. The apples can be peeled or grated with the skin on. Grating the apples right before adding to the batter helps to prevent over-browning before baking.
- Reduced apple cider : In a medium deep saucepan, bring 3 cups of high quality, no added sugar apple cider to a gentle boil and simmer for approximately 25 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove the cider from the stove top and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator to a light syrup-like consistency before adding to the muffin batter. Apple butter (1/3 cup) may be used in place of the apple cider syrup.
- Carrots: The original morning glory muffin recipe was created by Chef Pam Mc Kinstry in 1978 for her restaurant on Nantucket Island. It became popular as was one of the first healthy muffin recipes to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Like the original recipe carrots is one of the main ingredients in this variation of the morning glory muffin.
- Olive oil: With nutrition in mind I used olive oil in this recipe. Other neutral oils such as canola, and grape seed oil may be used in place of the olive oil.
- Maple syrup: Adds a natural sweetness keeping this muffin free of refined sugars.
- Whole wheat pastry flour: A whole grain flour milled from low protein soft spring grains creating a tender crumb that is ideal for cookies, muffins, and sweet loaf recipes. Substituting part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour adds to the whole grain nutrition of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Ground flax seed: A nutrition super food containing fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans.
- Warm fall spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and all-spice compliment well with the apples making this the perfect autumn recipe.
- Greek yogurt: An excellent source of protein, contributes to a moist and tender crumb, and activates the baking soda helping the muffins to rise during baking.
- Pecans: Add a light sweet buttery flavor and elevate the nutrition factor providing a good source of protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals . Walnuts can also be used in place of the pecans.
- Baking Equipment : A food processor or hand grater, standard size 12 cup muffin pan, hand electric mixer, whisk, standard size ice cream scoop, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and parchment cup cake liners.
A recent visit to a local apple orchard offered a variety of apples to choose from.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup reduced apple cider (see notes)
- 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 1/4 cup finely grated apple (peeled or with the skin)
- 1 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice or nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with parchment paper cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and chopped pecans.
- In a medium size bowl on low speed using a hand mixer blend the olive oil and maple syrup together until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.
- Stir in the applesauce, reduced apple cider and Greek yogurt.
- Add shredded carrots and apples and mix well.
- Gently fold in mixed dry ingredients just until combined.
- Using a standard ice cream scoop fill each lined muffin cup evenly over 12 muffins.
- To decorate sprinkle each muffin with a little chopped pecans and small thinly chopped apple slices.
- Bake on the middle rack of oven for 7 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F continue baking for 15 to 18 minutes until baked through and muffins lightly spring back.
- Cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan to a cooling rack.