One of my earliest baking memories is making Morning Glory Muffins with my mom. I’d stand next to her on a chair pulled up to the counter and help her grate zucchini, carrots, and apple into the mixing bowl, toss in golden raisins or currants or whatever dried fruit we had on hand, and (knowing her) an extra handful of toasted nuts and twice as much vanilla as the recipe called for. The spicy smell of cinnamon and cloves as the warm muffins came out of the oven still gives me the coziest feeling, especially as the first hints of fall tease of chilly mornings and turning leaves.
I’ve made so many iterations of Morning Glory Muffins through the years, and I’ve yet to find one that beats my mom’s classic recipe. But when it comes to baking projects in the fall, only pumpkin bread rivals my passion for Morning Glory Muffins, so I couldn’t help myself from trying to merge my two loves into one perfect muffin. And I have no regrets because these are ridiculously good – the perfect chilly morning breakfast, cozy afternoon snack, or slathered with a little butter and sea salt for my kinda dessert.
Meal prep hack: I made an extra batch and froze a dozen, which really comes in handy on those rushing-out-the-door school mornings. Just wrap in foil and warm them in the oven, or if you’re in a pinch, defrost in the microwave until just warm and top with a little butter or honey.
Think of this recipe more like a formula that can be mixed up according to what you have on hand. No carrots? Sub zucchini and add more apple, just keep the ratios of the shredded veggies the same. Swap in golden raisins, cranberries, or chopped dates for the apricots; any toasted nuts or seeds can be used here, too. Get creative and have fun – I approach this like an autumn art project in the kitchen! (Stop rolling your eyes… it’s fall! Quiet your inner cynic and be cliché for a sec – it’s fun, I promise!) Read on for the recipe, and I’d love to hear what y’all are baking up in honor of the chillier weather on the horizon…
photos by Chanel Dror
- 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk (or plant-based milk if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homemade)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 apple, grated and with extra water squeezed out with a paper towel (I like to use granny smith)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 1 cup chopped nuts and/or seeds, toasted (I used a mix of slivered almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds - save a few for sprinkling on top!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, or use muffin liners and spray the liners.
- Soak the chopped apricots in hot water while you prep the other ingredients.
- To the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, milk, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla, and beat on medium until well combined.
- Add both flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and stir on lowest setting just to combine.
- Add carrots, apple, coconut, and nuts (reserve a few for topping the muffins). Drain water from apricots and add 1/2 cup of them to the bowl. Stir just to combine.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups - it'll go almost to the top! Sprinkle a few more nuts and remaining apricots over the tops of the muffins, and top each one with a sprinkle fo sugar for crunch.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for a couple months. Eat up!