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Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Morning Muffins

Long ago, I learned an important kitchen lesson: read the recipe in its entirety before you even think about making it. Too many times before that, I'd only have skimmed the ingredient list, then go to make the recipe and realize I need an overnight rest/marinade, or the final product needs 4 hours to set afterwards, or some other hidden time requirement. I'm much better, now, at properly preparing myself for a recipe. Still, I sometimes get ahead of myself.

Last Saturday I was happily pouring over a new baking book, when I saw this muffin recipe. I thought to myself, "perfect! I'll prep the ingredients tonight and bake in the morning." I often do that, these days, since dragging out containers of dry ingredients and measuring them is a lot easier when our son is asleep, than when he is awake. Later that evening, when I set out to combine dry ingredients and locate all the others and arrange them in an easy-to-grab place in the fridge, I realize there was very little prep work that could be done. Sure, I could throw together the few dry ingredients, but those comprised not even a third of the ingredient list - not a huge time saver. I didn't want to grate the zucchini or chop the apple ahead of time, so I conceded and left all the prep work for Sunday morning.

As I made the muffins on Sunday morning, I wondered if all this work (in itself not much, but more than any other muffin recipe I've made) would be worth it. I got my answer shortly after removing these glorious muffins from the oven. Absolutely - yes! I was so excited to try one, I didn't even wait for them to properly cool. These quickly became my new favorite muffin, and I can't wait to make them again. The add-ins play so well together, against the almost nutty whole wheat muffin base, with just the right hint of cinnamon to round it out.


These lightly sweetened muffins are packed with delicious add-ins and make a fabulous breakfast!

Good Morning Muffins

Good Morning Muffins
Source: Slightly adapted from Flour, by Joanne Chang
Yield: 12 muffins
Preparation time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes



  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) wheat or oat bran
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) hot water
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups packed or 200 grams)
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) raisins
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecan halves, chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1 cup or 120 grams)
  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (or 3 Tablespoons ground flax seed with 9 tablespoons water)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) canola or safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin with nonstick baking spray or paper liners.
    2. In a medium bowl, stir together the bran and hot water until the bran in completely moistened. Add zucchini, raisins, pecans, coconut, apple; stir until well mixed.
    3. If you are using eggs: Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat sugar and eggs on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and lightens. (This will take 6-8 minutes with a hand-held mixer). On low speed, drizzle in oil, slowly, and vanilla. Adding it slowly is key to maintain the air you have beaten into the eggs. If you are using flax seed/water as an egg substitute: add sugar, flax seed, water, oil and vanilla to a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
    4. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, folding carefully with a spatula until well combined. Add the bran mixture and fold until well combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim.
    5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until muffins are lightly brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove muffins from pan to finish cooling.
    6. The muffins taste best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room tempurature for up to 3 days. They can be frozen up to a week, if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.