You know those mornings, when you stop into a coffee shop and get a pastry with your caffeine? You’re hungry and tired and maybe a little in a rush but you’re going to treat yourself. You carefully eye each option, looking for something that can carry you to lunch. You’d like something with a bit of heft, but not too heavy. There’s oatmeal, or granola with yogurt, which sounds good most of the time but today you deserve a pastry. Croissants, while delicious, aren’t calling to you, because in all honesty on their own they’re more of an afternoon snack than a breakfast. Donuts are a weekend treat, not a weekday indulgence. After careful consideration you decide on the muffin. And once you bite into the muffin you realize that you made a mistake. Because this muffin- banana or blueberry or occasionally even bran- is a dessert muffin, meant for slowly pulling apart and eating while talking over steaming mugs. And you wanted a breakfast muffin.
This is not to dump on the dessert muffin. They can be glorious specimen, burnished with sugar and standing proudly. A proper dessert muffin is a delicious and under-appreciated thing, combining a wholesome format with a stealthy indulgence. It’s just to say that dessert muffins don’t make the best breakfasts. Breakfast muffins can make excellent breakfasts, but breakfast muffins are tricky. You want some fiber to keep you full, but not so much that the muffin better functions as a doorstop. It should be moist and tender, not crumbly or dry. There are bonus points awarded if the muffin is full of nutritious treats. But the biggest thing that designates a breakfast muffin from a dessert muffin is the sugar. Dessert muffins love sugar. Breakfast muffins, not so much.
I may be biased, but I think these morning glory muffins hit it out of the park. There’s some heft from whole wheat flour, and tenderness from buttermilk. The muffins themselves are filled with carrots, apples, sunflower seeds, and raisins, a wholesome combination that screams fall to me. There’s just enough brown sugar to bring a lovely dark sweetness to the whole thing, and a sprinkling of demerara sugar on top gives the muffins a delightful crunch. The result is a tender, earthy breakfast muffin that covers all my ridiculously specific criteria of what a breakfast muffin should be. And they make an excellent breakfast, whether you eat it heading to work, before school, or after the long commute from your bedroom to your dining room table.
(P.S. I’m ridiculously proud of this recipe, since it’s the first baking recipe I’ve developed completely on my own. If I could insert emojis here, the megaphone and streamer one would be right… here.)
Morning Glory Muffins
makes 12 muffins
I found these muffins just barely sweet, which is my preferred sweetness for a breakfast muffin. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, you could easily add in 1/4 cup of cane sugar in with the brown sugar. I used primarily whole wheat pastry flour here, but spelt is a good substitute, and I imagine ordinary whole wheat flour wouldn’t be amiss.
enough butter and flour to grease a muffin tin
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled and grated carrots (about 5-6 small)
1/2 cup peeled and grated granny smith apple (1 medium)
1/2 cup roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
demerara sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin tin, and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the grated carrots, grated apple, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, and raisins. Set aside.
In another medium bowl whisk together the egg and the brown sugar until well combined. Add in the buttermilk and coconut oil, and whisk again. Gently pour the egg-buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Whisk together until just combined.
Add in the carrot-apple mixture, and fold into the batter using a rubber spatula. Gently dollop the batter evenly between the muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with sunflower seeds and demerara sugar.
Bake for 18-21 minutes, until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in each muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the muffins cool in the muffin tins. Eat at room temperature or warm.