Have you noticed the days getting longer?

We're 5 weeks past the shortest day of the year, and it shows – particularly in the morning, when the drive to work happens in broad daylight, rather than gray and gloomy almost-dawn.

Speaking of driving to work, what's an easy, fast, filling, and tasty way to eat breakfast on the run (or more likely, on the drive)?

Big hint at the top of this page, right?

Back in the day, muffins were everyone's favorite portable breakfast. Before scones, and Egg McMuffins, and breakfast burritos, there were muffins.

Tender, moist blueberry muffins, loaded with dark berries. Bright and tangy lemon-poppy seed.

Decadent chocolate chip; comforting banana.

And Morning Glory – which, if memory serves, were a darling of the '60s and '70s back-to-the-land movement. When seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and whole grains were suddenly on everyone's lips – literally.

Still life with Mother Nature, right?

The venerable Morning Glory is an earthy, whole-grain muffin that, despite the description, manages to taste very good indeed. Moist and just sweet enough, it's a great "eat in the car" treat – it needs the enhancement of neither butter nor jam (though either – or cream cheese – wouldn't be out of place).

Are you ready for a throwback breakfast? Let's make muffins.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.

In a small bowl, cover 1/2 cup (71g) raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak.

Next up: grated apple and carrots.

The recipe calls for 1 large apple, peeled; I don't bother to peel. The recipe is so full of seeds and nuts anyway, who cares about a bit of apple peel?

So, put one large, tart, firm apple (e.g., Granny Smith), cored and cut in chunks; and 3 medium carrots (about 198g), peeled and cut in chunks, into your food processor. Process until pretty finely chopped, but not puréed.

Don't have a food processor? You'll need to chop by hand.

Next, stir together the following in a mixing bowl:

2 cups (227g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup (213g) brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain the 1/2 cup raisins and add them to the bowl, along with the grated/chopped apple and carrots, plus the following:

1/2 cup (43g) shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1/2 cup (57g) chopped walnuts
1/3 cup (43g) sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional

Beat gently to combine.

Whisk together the following:

3 large eggs
2/3 cup (131g) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (57g) orange juice

Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. You'll have a fairly loose (though chunky) batter.

Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan, filling them all the way to the top; a muffin scoop works well here.

You'll probably have batter left over; that's OK, we'll deal with it later.

See how full these are? Not the usual 3/4 full, it's true, but with this muffin it works.

Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until they're nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove them from the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes in their pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling.

See? They didn't overflow.

This is a muffin that domes very nicely, even with all that batter in the cup.

Speaking of all that batter, what do you do with the leftover?

Well, hope triumphed over reason for me. I thought, I can just put these paper muffin cups into a bread pan, fill 'em up, and they'll kinda support one another as the muffins bake...

They did – just not in the way I'd imagined! Hey, beauty is only crust-deep, right? They still tasted good. But next time, I'd use foil muffin cups, which would indeed hold their shape.

Now THAT'S a muffin with character! Look at all that good stuff...

As I mentioned above, these muffins are nicely moist, perfectly (but not overly) sweet, and don't really need jam or butter. But maybe a dollop of fig-walnut preserves? I'm there.

Good morning, sunshine!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Morning Glory Muffins.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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