Muffins in the morning make for a better day

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Saving the chopped walnuts to sprinkle on top makes for tasty muffin. —Stacey Rupolo

Why bake with white flour, when whole wheat can be healthier, more nutritious, and tastes better, too?

I have loved to bake as far back as I can remember. We started buying whole wheat bread after some morning show long ago said that whole wheat flour has more protein than white flour. Then my wife’s doctor suggested she switch to a whole grain diet. White flour converts directly to glucose, with whole grains being a much more healthy option. Fortunately, that year, 2006, King Arthur Flour published its “Whole Grain Baking” cookbook, which we bought. I have been a whole grain devotee ever since.

Their recipe for Morning Glory Muffins is one of my favorites. I have altered the recipe to keep the walnuts out of the batter and then more finely chop them and sprinkle them on top.

½ cup raisins

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. salt

1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and grated

2 cups peeled, grated carrots

½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut

⅓ cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ (optional)

3 large eggs

⅔ cup vegetable or corn oil

¼ cup orange juice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease muffin tins, or line with papers and coat with nonstick spray. Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water to plump them; set aside while you assemble the rest of the recipe.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt (and the sunflower seeds or wheat germ, if you are using it) in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the apple, carrots, and coconut.

In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Drain the raisins and stir them in.

Pour the batter carefully into the muffin tins. They will be quite full; that’s OK. Sprinkle batter with finely chopped walnuts.

Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until the tops have rounded nicely and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the muffins in their tins on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn them out to cool completely.