March 25, 2013

Adventures in Vegan Baking: Morning Glory Muffins

Yesterday, we woke up to a snow storm. Despite my excitement for our celebrating Palm Sunday at church and with good friends, we were NOT going to trek down the mountain yesterday.

So we put on comfy sweats, and Emmett went down easy for a morning nap, and I baked my little heart out over a recipe I've been dying to try. Have you ever heard of Morning Glory Muffins? They find their roots in the 1970's, and the more I go searching, the more I see you can pretttyyy much add anything to these muffins and they're still delicious. The premise is carrots, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, but after that? It's like a choose your own adventure recipe.

My first variation yesterday turned out SO good. Seriously the best muffins I've probably ever had. That batch made 18, and this morning there was only one left. I repeat, one muffin. They were that good. (Please remember that 5 adults live here, so Neil and I weren't being TOTAL gluttons yesterday). I decided to try another variation today, since the original intention was for breakfast muffins for the week, and today's only Monday so we definitely needed more!

The first muffin was a little bit on the really moist/dense side (not gonna lie, I LOVED it that way), so I decided to try a different egg substitute in the second batch to balance it out and make it a little more muffin-y. They look a little bit more appetizing, and are still scrumptious. They're a little fluffier, had a bit more crunch (since I added sunflower seeds in the second go-around), and they would probably sell better in a bakery just because they could appeal more to the masses, I suppose. (My vote is still for muffin 1, but the point is to show you that variations are welcome!).

So, both of my ingredient lists are below, and the basic instructions carry over no matter which add-ins you dare to bake into your recipe. I made mine vegan by subbing applesauce in the first batch (1/4 cup=1 egg), and used pumpkin puree in the second version (1/3 cup=1 egg). I love that this particular basic recipe (that I used as my inspiration) doesn't call for any butter or white sugar, and it uses whole wheat flour so I just feel better already for consuming as many as I have these past two days :) I've read about Morning Glory Muffins that use pineapple (fresh, canned, crushed), all different kinds of nuts, and vegan, paleo, gluten-free, versions, etc. Really, you can't go wrong with a muffin that tastes a little bit like carrot cake and a lot a bit like heaven. ;)

Vegan Morning Glory Muffins
Round One Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 medium carrots
1 tart green apple (I left the skin on, because I love it!)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup applesauce 
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice

Round Two Ingredients: (differences in second recipe are italicized)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins (added these in because we love 'em in our house)
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I was running out of cinnamon so I just reduced the amt. slightly)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 medium carrots (one fewer than in recipe 1)
1/2 of a zucchini (I love zucchini baked into sweets so this was a fun addition)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (the original recipe called for these; added wonderful texture!)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp applesauce (I added this in for the moisture/flavor/to sub the green apple)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
Let's Make Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins for baking (use baking cups or oil).
2. In a small bowl, cover your dried fruit with hot tap water and let soak.
3. Grate carrots/zucchini/apple by hand or with a food processor.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices and salt.
5. Drain the dried fruit and add to the flour mixture, along with the carrots, apple, coconut, oats, and seeds.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, vanilla extract, orange juice and your applesauce and/or pumpkin.
7. Add your wet mixture into the dry and use a rubber spatula to stir until evenly moistened.
8. Scoop into muffin tins (fill 'em up!). These muffins do not really rise, so you want to be generous in your scoops!
9. Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted to the center of a muffin comes out clean. I experimented in making a few mini muffins and they only took about 14 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
11. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of orange juice! (These lend themselves really well to inducing an orange juice craving). Milk/vanilla soy milk/almond milk on the side would do just as well!
Yields about 18 muffins

The Round One Muffins
Round Two, looking a little more muffin-y
Hey, Mama Muffin
Muffin One, in all her glory
Muffin Two. I see you, little zucchini flakes!

Okay, so now that I'm done trying new things (vegan baking, instagram photos to make myself feel better about my food photography, doing a recipe post), I'm going to wrap up with something familiar and close to my heart. Clearly, that means pictures of the sweetest little man I know.


Love, muffins, and snow in spring,
Mama Bird

P.S. What would you add to your Morning Glory Muffins? If you try these, let me know what you think!

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