a healthy spin on morning glories

Good morning, Sleepy Head!

If you want a muffin, raise your paw!

Furry kitchen helpers give this recipe a three paws up!

Just for you, yes, just for wonderful you, we whipped up a batch of Quick Morning Glory Muffins from the Sweet Dash of Aloha cookbook. Remember when I reviewed it recently and promised to try some of the recipes?

Well, I’m always mad for muffins because they’re portable, freezable, and adorable. Morning Glories are a great way to start your day off right since they contain both fruit and veggies. Who can resist a cinnamon-y beauty chock full of apple, carrots, raisins, coconut, cranberries and dates?

The original Morning Glory Muffins were created back in 1981 by Chef Pam McKinstry, who owned the Morning Glory Café in Nantucket. It was published in Gourmet Magazine and in 1991 was chosen as one of twenty-five favorite recipes of the last 50 years. So it’s quite famous and beloved by muffin-lovers-in-the-know; you’ve likely eaten or even baked some yourself.

Fast forward to 2011, when Executive Chef Carol Nardello, an instructor at the Kapi’olani Community College Culinary Institute of the Pacific, decides to develop a healthier, guilt-free version of this classic recipe without any added sugar or fat. You can see why I was all over it.

Golden raisins, dried cherries, chopped dates, applesauce.

I didn’t have any whole wheat pastry flour or dried cranberries on hand, so I used all-purpose flour and dried cherries. Next time, I will take Carol’s suggestion of substituting white whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour because it contains more fiber (though this muffin already has a good amount because of all the dried fruit).

Grated carrots and apple

Overall, the recipe is very simple. It’s just a matter of gathering and measuring all the ingredients and gently combining them. As with any muffin recipe, it’s important not to overmix the batter to avoid toughness. This was my first time baking muffins without either butter or vegetable oil; the unsweetened applesauce compensated for some of the liquid and of course upped the moistness quotient.



Yes, they are delicious — I like the variety of fruity flavors and textures. As with any recipe calling for raisins, I opted for golden raisins to avoid the cloying sweetness of regular raisins. These taste even better the next day and are mucho moist. Best of all, there’s none of the guilt associated with those highly caloric grocery store muffins. Yum dum diddle um!

Ironically, Carol’s recipe doesn’t call for any pineapple, which was included in the original recipe and is Hawai’i’s calling card fruit. Still, it’s kind of cool that both Carol and Pam developed their recipes on beautiful islands, one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic.

(makes 12 muffins)

1-1/4 c. all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 sml. apple, peeled and grated
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. dates, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (fresh or dried)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a smaller bowl, combine fruits and carrot.

In a third bowl, combine eggs, applesauce, water and vanilla.

Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients just until combined.

Add mixed fruits and coconut and stir just until moistened. Avoid overmixing. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in hot oven for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*Jama’s tip: If you use paper baking cups, spray them with a little Pam before adding the batter to make them easier to peel off after baking.

~ from A Sweet Dash of Aloha: Guilt-Free Hawai’i Desserts and Snacks (Watermark Publishing, 2011).

No guilt, even after the fourth muffin . . .


Click here to see my review of A Sweet Dash of Aloha.

P.S. Cornelius says hello to Dawn in Hawai’i. ☺


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


16 thoughts on “a healthy spin on morning glories

  1. Yum, yum Jama. These look awesome. Do you think they’d freeze well too? As long as I’m baking with all those fruity ingredients, might as well do two batches.


  2. They look soooo tempting, but today I’ll stick with my cranberry orange muffins. Or maybe raisin bran muffin. Or a scone! Mmmm…scone…


  3. Oh wow, they look sinfully delicious – yet wondrously healthy to boot. I haven’t tried my hand at baking muffins yet, but thanks for this recipe. Hopefully, it inspires me to bake a few. Will let you know if I do. 🙂


Comments are closed.