Morning Glory Muffins

A good morning begins with a good muffin

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The original Morning Glory muffins were invented in 1978 by Pam McKinstry, Nantucket restaurateur and culinary consultant to the organic produce company Earthbound Farm. Gourmet Magazine picked up the recipe in 1981, and a decade later it was chosen as one of the magazine’s 50 favorite recipes of the last 25 years.

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Morning Glory muffins have come a long way since the 1970s – a Google search turns up 323,000 hits, with companies like King Arthur Flour weighing in with its own version (made with King Arthur flour, natch), which purports to date back to the ’60s, though it hews closely to the McKinstry version.  Cooking Light has an unusual take with banana and dried pineapple, Taste of Home rides its reputation as the tacky home-cook magazine and rips off the McKinstry recipe nearly verbatim without credit, and offers so many uploaded knock-offs that it lists not only a Morning Glory Muffins I and II but a Better Morning Glory Muffins and a Protein Morning Glory Muffins recipe as well. The Whole Foods version is appropriately snooty, with whole wheat pastry flour, “natural brown sugar” (as opposed to the plastic kind, I suppose), and “expeller-pressed” canola oil.

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So why tweak something that’s already been tweaked a million times? Surely someone, if not Ms. McKinstry herself, has already found the perfect version of these muffins. They probably have. But I couldn’t resist rewriting the recipe just a tiny bit. Here’s my take – brown sugar instead of white (which, frankly, is more down-to-earth and hippie than the original, written in the 1970s, when white sugar and shortening ruled the earth), and a cup of zucchini instead of one of the cups of carrots.

Morning Glory Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 16 muffins


2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

1 cup raisins

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, grated and squeezed

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup carrot

1 cup shredded, squeezed zucchini

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix in the coconut, carrots, zucchini, apple and pineapple. Beat in the flour mixture, then fold in raisins.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each well to the top.

Bake for 35 minutes. Cool in muffin ten for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

One of these babies makes a great, healthful replacement for a doughnut or a cream cheese-slathered bagel. Just pour yourself a travel mug of coffee and you’re ready to go.

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