If you like your muffins packed with texture and flavor, morning glory muffins might be the muffins for you. Initially popular during the goulash-and-granola years of the late 1970s, morning glory muffins relied on fruits and veggies for flavor, and encouraged the use of whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
The rumor is that the original recipe comes from the Morning Glory Cafe on Nantucket, where it was invented by former owner and chef Pam McKinstry. I couldn’t find a concrete footnote to support this, but I’d love to know that there’s a New England connection! Regardless, Gourmet magazine reportedly published the recipe in 1981 and the rest, as they say, is muffin history.
These “everything but the kitchen sink” muffins have a little something for everyone. Made with carrot, apple, coconut, raisins, and cinnamon, they taste the closest to carrot cake, so we won’t blame you if you fee compelled to spread a little cream cheese frosting on top. If you keep them plain, however, you can take full advantage of the muffin’s portable perks. A quick breakfast or snack on the go doesn’t work as well if you’re trying to keep the frosting off your hands (or the keyboard), and they taste good enough to eat without anything extra, unless it’s a cup of coffee or glass of milk.
Our recipe is a more mainstream (meaning a bit more cupcake than muffin) version of morning glory muffins, but like a good soup, you can feel free to experiment and adapt it to your taste preference. Don’t like raisins? Swap in nuts! Want a healthier muffin? Reduce the sugar, substitute the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, or add in a little wheat germ or sunflower seeds! Love brown sugar? Use it instead! Within reason, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Our recipe also makes a hefty batch, so I halved it, and they came out great. The aroma in the kitchen while morning glory muffins are baking was wonderful — sweet and cinnamon-y with a whiff of coconut.
Here’s a tip left by one of our readers that I found helpful… When you cool and store the muffins, sit them on a layer of double-fold paper towels. The oil in the muffins (morning glory muffins are almost always made with oil over butter) can give off a bit of grease, and this helps absorb the excess. The next time I make them I might try swapping in butter instead, since the oil-factor drives me a little nuts.
Are you a morning glory muffin fan?
GET THE RECIPE:
Morning Glory Muffins
This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.