These cinnamon-spiced Morning Glory Muffins are the best! Healthy and indulgent all at once, these fabulously hearty muffins are full of carrots, pineapple, apple, raisins, walnuts, and flavored with ground toasted coconut. Breakfast dressed up like carrot cake is something I can get behind!
I think that most people are either “breakfast people” or, most assuredly, “not breakfast people”. Which are you? I definitely fall into the latter camp and have for pretty much my entire life.
However, making a batch of these muffins and then freezing them for easy, delicious breakfasts is a phenomenal decision. The flour mixture of these muffins is augmented with ground walnuts and ground toasted coconut, as well as cinnamon, which results in some mind-blowing flavor. In addition to that, the batter contains shredded carrots, grated apple, crushed pineapple, dried pineapple, and golden raisins. So basically, every imaginable fantastic add-in you could dream of is in these muffins.
This is what breakfast dreams are made of.
If you’ve ever wondered how morning glory muffins got their name, a little history lesson… they were developed by Chef Pam McKinstry for her restaurant, Morning Glory, on Nantucket Island. The recipe was first published in Gourmet magazine in 1981, and in 1991 it was chosen as one of the magazine’s 25 favorite recipes from the past 50 years.
An absolute classic!
Making morning glory muffins from scratch, step-by-step
These aren’t as quick to throw together as, say, regular old banana or blueberry muffins, as they require grating carrots and an apple and reducing some liquid (you get the intense flavor and none of the mushiness!), but you are rewarded with a breakfast muffin that feels healthy and indulgent all at once. Here’s how we make them:
Preheat oven and line a muffin tin with liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Process the coconut and walnuts in a food processor until finely ground.
Add the dry ingredients and pulse to combine.
Drain the pineapple and shredded apple over a bowl.
Reduce the liquid on the stove to ¼ cup and cool slightly.
Whisk together the wet ingredients.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix or the muffins will be tough).
Fold in the add-ins (crushed pineapple, apple, carrots, raisins, and dried pineapple).
Divide the batter between the muffin cups.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Mix-in ideas and substitutions
If you want to change up the recipe a bit to suit your tastes or just want to try something different, here are a few ideas:
Walnuts: You can omit them or replace them with pecans, almonds, or pistachios. You can also replace them with an equal amount of more coconut.
Coconut: You can omit or substitute with any of the nuts mentioned above (including extra walnuts).
Carrots: You can substitute shredded zucchini!
Raisins and dried pineapple: Substitute any dried fruit you’d like! Chopped dates, cranberries, cherries, sunflower seeds, more chopped nuts, more shredded coconut, or omit entirely.
Citrus Zest: For an additional punch of flavor, try adding some lemon or orange zest to the batter.
Just like mix-ins, you can also add some delicious toppings for some contrasting flavors and textures. Some of my favorite ideas:
Cinnamon-sugar streusel: Before baking, mix together ½ cup brown sugar + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the muffins then bake as directed.
Crumble topping: Use the topping from my New York crumb cake and sprinkle over the top of these muffins for something extra special!
Drizzle with glaze: Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar + 1 tablespoon milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla and drizzle over cooled muffins. You can replace the milk with lemon juice, orange juice, or lime juice if you’d like.
Any standard 12-cup muffin pan will work for these muffins. I’ve had the Wilton Everglide Avanti muffin pan for ages, but it is not readily available in most places anymore. If you can’t get your hands on one, my next recommendation is the USA Muffin Pan.
You can spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray or use liners. I’ve used tons of different types of liners over the years, and I absolutely prefer the basic white paper liners. You can find them at just about any grocery store or craft store, but they are incredibly inexpensive if you buy them in bulk online (and they last forever!).
Storing and freezing morning glory muffins
There are a few different options for storing these muffins:
Room Temperature – Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Refrigerator – Kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, these muffins will stay fresh for up to 1 week.
Freezer – Once completely cooled, wrap each muffin in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or ziplock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Process the toasted coconut and walnuts in a food processor until finely ground, about 15 seconds. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and pulse until combined, about 3 one second pulses. Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
Pour the crushed pineapple into a fine-mesh strainer set over a 4-cup measuring cup (or small bowl), then add the shredded apple. Press the fruit mixture until it is completely dry (the resulting juice should measure about 1 cup). Transfer the juice to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the juice has reduced to ¼ cup, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Transfer the juice to a medium bowl and whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the pineapple and apple mixture, the carrots, raisins, and dried pineapple.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the muffins to a wire rack, and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Leftover muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month.
Flavors & toppings: See suggested substitutions, combinations, and instructions in the post above.