These hearty and simple morning glory muffins taste like spiced apple cake and moist carrot cake… combined… for breakfast!
Happy Easter! Kevin and I went to a little bed and breakfast a couple days ago down in northern Virginia to celebrate our 6 month anniversary. We’d been there 3 years ago and loved it, so it was exciting to be back. They had a little wine tasting shindig at their restaurant which (helloooo, free wine!) turned a great night into an even better night. We enjoyed a lot of great food– including a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake– but one of my favorites was this incredibly moist, flavorful morning glory muffin. It was packed with apple, carrot, brown sugar, pecans, and raisins. I realize compared to WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE… it’s a raisin muffin… but there was just something about all its spice, flavor, and that damn moist texture that made the muffin so memorable.
I’m sharing my little copycat version with ya today. Maybe you still need an Easter Sunday treat? If so, start preheating that oven.
Today’s jam-packed muffins are so simple. They’re a healthier muffin, for sure, but don’t really win first place. There’s a little brown sugar and oil for flavor and texture. To lighten them up, I use a mix of applesauce and oil. This way the muffins keep their moist, rich texture but aren’t weighed down with fat. Sometimes I find that replacing all of the fat in muffin recipes results in a rubbery texture.
Some super power healthy all-stars: whole wheat flour, grated apple and carrots, pecans, and ground flax. These whole wheat muffins get their flavor from apple, carrots, honey, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, and ginger. Sort of like stuffing your face with a piece of carrot cake and spiced apple cake… together… for breakfast. Probably why I love them so much! Two faves. Oh, and if you decide to top them with cream cheese frosting, well we’re soul mates you and I.
In addition, these classic muffins have toasted nuts for texture, raisins because I’m obsessed, and a splash of OJ for even more flavor. As you can see (read!), there is SO much much satisfying, wholesome goodness packed into this muffin batter.
Let’s talk variations!
I baked 3 batches of these muffins yesterday. My freezer was looking scarce and I had an army of carrots in the crisper drawer. I tested and tweaked the muffins with different add-ins like coconut, shredded zucchini, crushed pineapple, and sunflower seeds. I’m excited to share that this batter is incredibly forgiving and there’s room for lots of playing around based on what you like/despise. Allergic to nuts? Leave them out. Hate raisins? More for me. Want some coconut? Throw it in! Just make sure you don’t crowd the batter with too much stuff. See all my recipe notes below for tasty variations.
- 2 cups (260g) whole wheat flour1 (measured correctly)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (35g) ground flax (optional)
- 1/2 cup (64g) unsalted chopped pecans, such as Diamond of California 2
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (85g) honey3
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (60g) smooth applesauce4
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice or pineapple juice (I prefer orange)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (75g) raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes5
- 2 cups (260g) shredded carrots (about 4 large)
- 1 cup (140g) shredded/grated apple (about 1 apple)6
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)7. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use greased/sprayed cupcake liners. This recipe makes 16 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan in the same manner.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flax, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, honey, oil, applesauce, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the raisins, carrots, and apple. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
- Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-24 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.
- Make ahead tip: Muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist at room temperature for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up (if desired) before enjoying.