Sunday, August 25, 2013

Good Morning, Morning Glory!

Don’t you just love the phrase morning glory….the words sound so happy and welcoming when spoken together.  They come to mind every time I eat morning glory pancakes or a morning glory muffin.  There is nothing like a porch seat, a freshly baked muffin, and a cup of coffee or tea to greet a new day!    I had carrots that I wanted to use and what better way than to make Morning Glory Muffins.

Packed with fruit, Morning Glory muffins are really yummy and good for you and the topping on this version, made with walnuts and wheat germ instead butter and sugar, add an earthy, nutty flavor. 
Once again, the masters at Stonewall Kitchen made it possible for me to glam these up a bit while staying true to the recipe…I used Caramel Apple Butter instead of plain apple butter. I did not use as much sugar as the recipe called for and threw in some coconut because Morning Glory muffins need coconut, right?

Regarding two of the more ordinary – but useful – ingredients, I often wondered (and I guess I should know this) exactly what baking soda and baking powder contribute to a recipe so I turned to for the answer.  Both are leavening agents, which mean they cause baked goods to release gas (bubbles) and rise when combined with an acidic ingredient, such as fruit or fruit juice, salt, buttermilk or vinegar.  If omitted from a recipe, you will have a flat mess!  The same will occur if you omit the baking soda and just use baking powder because baking power (which is actually a combination of baking soda and some other compounds like cream of tartar) does not contain the right amount of baking soda to encourage quick breads, life muffins, to rise. There you have it!

Morning Glory Muffins

Note:  the recipe makes 18 muffins but I like my muffins a little bigger, so I only made 12.  I adjusted the calorie content accordingly.  Also, based on my own experimentation and on the reviews I read, this recipe adjusts nicely, so don’t be afraid to substitute honey for sugar, use more whole wheat flour or apple sauce instead of apple butter!

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1¼ cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
½  teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1cup raisins
2egg whites (I used ¾ cup of egg substitute instead of any eggs or egg whites)
½ cup apple butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (I didn’t toast and it was fine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla. In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Incorporate apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.  I use an ice cream scoop (the kind with the little lever) to fill the muffin cups in a non-messy way….this method also produces evenly sized muffins!  In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

All I can say is that these are 291 calories and 3 grams of dietary fiber fabulous.  Neighbor’s word to describe these little gems is applecious and, you know what, I think she’s on to something. The next time I make them, I will chop the apples a bit finer (maybe even throw them in the food processor with the carrots), decrease the sugar even more and add a little pineapple or mashed banana to compensate.  I’ll also use more whole wheat flour and throw some walnuts into the batter for a little crunch.

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