Tuesday, March 25, 2014

morning glory muffins

I wish I invented these muffins, but I didn’t. A nice lady, and Chef, by the name of Pam McKinstry, came up with them in 1978 on Nantucket Island. The recipe was first published in Gourmet Magazine in 1981, and a quick search will reveal as many variations as there are cooks. These, are a correlation of multiple recipes I’ve come across and I think they’re the best…even if I haven’t tried all the rest.

I use these as a healthful or at least beneficial combination of meal replacement and energy bar, and you don’t even need to break out your chemistry set to make them. And maybe healthful, beneficial, and meal replacement sound like disappointing diet food, but I assure you they are anything but. Full of tart apple flavor, the earthy sweetness of coconut, dried cherries, carrots, and almonds, accented by salty sunflower seeds, these pack both a nutritive and flavor punch that is 100% crave-able.

Raisins are traditional, but for a Michigan twist I substitute dried cherries. I’ve also tried dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a seasonal twist. You can likewise substitute any equal weight of your favorite nuts for the almonds. It’s all good.

Recipe following cut:

large 5.20 L [5.5 qt.] capacity mixing bowl,  medium ~3.3L [ 3.5 qt.] mixing bowl, box grater, small .50 L [1 pt.] capacity bowl, 500 ml [2 cup] capacity liquid measuring cup, 500ml [2 cup] capacity fine mesh sieve, wire cooling rack, flexible silicone spatula, wire whisk, 2 - ~260ml [~9 fl oz] capacity large muffin pan, #8 large capacity batter or ice cream scoop, 46cm x 30cm [18”x12“] half sheet pan, flexible bowl scraper, metric/imperial scale

120g dried cherries or raisins [~¾ cup]
425g unbleached all purpose flour {~3 cups]
310g granulated sugar [~1½ cups]
18g baking soda [~3 tsp]
9g ground cinnamon [~3 tsp]
5g ground ginger [~1½ tsp]
6g fine grade sea salt [~¾ tsp]
385g peeled and grated carrots [~3 cups + 1tbsp]
300g grated tart apple* [~2 cups + 2 tbsp]
120g sweetened shredded coconut [~¾ cup]
75g sliced almonds [~¾ cup]
60g roasted and salted sunflower seeds [~⅓ cup + 2 tbsp + 2tsp]
225g egg, lightly beaten** [~4 lg eggs + 1 egg yolk]
220g canola, or vegetable oil [~1 cup]
9g pure vanilla extract [~3 tsps]

40g roasted and salted sunflower seeds [~⅓ cup]
25g sliced almonds [~¼ cup]
40g turbinato sugar [~ scant ¼ cup]

- vegetable shortening for pan

Mise en place:
Grease the interior and lip of the muffin wells with vegetable shortening, or line with paper liners.

Place the raisins in a microwave safe bowl, and cover with water to 1 cm [½ inch] above the fruit. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and set aside to rehydrate 10 minutes.

Grate carrot and then weigh into the medium sized mixing bowl. Repeat with apple. Weigh sweetened coconut, almonds, sunflower seeds, into the same bowl. Set aside until needed.

Weigh all the dried ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt) into the large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set on a clean work surface.

Drain raisins and set aside until needed.

Weigh the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract into the measuring cup and whisk briefly to combine.

Combine garnish ingredients [sunflower seeds, almonds, and turbinato sugar] in the small mixing bowl and set aside until needed.

Preheat oven to 190ºC [375ºF]
Toss grated mixture with flour mixture to coat the various items with flour.

Fold in the wet ingredients, followed by the raisins.

Add two full scoops of batter to each well, filling the cups ¾ full.

Divide the topping between the muffins and sprinkle on wet batter. Continue to mix toss these ingredients together too keep them evenly distributed from muffin to muffin.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean-ish – a couple crumbs are preferred but no unbaked batter should appear on the test pick.

Cool in pan 10 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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