I used to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast. That’s right. Pop Tarts. And I liked them. But as I grew up, my palate became more refined and I wanted something different, something healthier, something less processed. I didn’t want anything heavy or full of dairy in the morning, meaning most muffins and coffee cakes simply wouldn’t fit the bill. I also wanted something sweet, full of carbohydrates to fuel me through the day. But what?
As I’ve said before, I love the Food Network, and Sunny Anderson is one of my favorites, as are many of the things she makes. One episode I watched her make Sunny Morning Muffins and was inspired. She probably wouldn’t look at my recipe and think it was adapted from hers, but it was. Mostly because it was one of the only muffin recipes I’ve found that doesn’t rely on dairy for moisture.
I increased the fresh chopped fruit, leavening, and spices, doubled the vegetable oil, halved the nuts, and cut out the banana (I eat a lot of bananas for energy and rarely put them in my baked goods). So while this is basically my recipe now, I thank Sunny for the inspiration and for giving me something better to eat for breakfast. Without her, I’d probably still be searching for a recipe and turning to my Pop Tarts each morning.
Many of the muffins you will see on the blog stem from this recipe, but they are all very different with a wide variety of fruits, nuts, sugars, spices, and flavorings. I am trying to expand my muffin horizons for more variety, but these are the muffins I keep going back to time and again because they are quite simply so delicious. Even I am sometimes amazed at how different they taste from one incarnation to the next when they stem from the same base. I’ll offer you lots of muffin ideas here as I make them all the time because they are my breakfast every day, but feel free to change the fruit, nuts, and flavorings around to make you own creation. Baking is about experimenting and enjoying, and this is a very easy recipe with which to do that. It’s also a very quick and easy recipe to whip up on a whim.
I make ten large muffins in a standard muffin tin, which I oil, instead of using liners. You could use liners and make more, smaller muffins. But don’t worry about the size, as one of these is much healthier than your traditional bakery muffin because of all the fresh fruit in it. The tops are a bit harder than in traditional muffins and have an almost cookie like taste. Part cookie, part muffin? Sounds pretty good to me. I hope you like them as much as I do.
This particular version is made with fresh Gala apples and toasted pecans. An absolutely perfect pairing. I also have to say I like the parts of the muffins around the apples that are slightly gooey, mostly at the top.
The next time you are looking for a quick and healthy breakfast to get you through the day, check out these muffins. You won’t be disappointed.
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (pasteurized if you like)
- 2 ½ cups coarsely chopped Gala apples, peeled
- ½ cup toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil ten cups in a 12-cup muffin tin. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, orange zest, vanilla, and eggs. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix to combine. It will be very thick, almost like cookie dough. Add the apples and pecans. Mix to combine. If the mixture is too thick, this will depend on how juicy the apples are, add the juice from half of the orange you zested.
- Make the topping. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, and ginger together.
- Using a regular ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the ten prepared cups in the muffin tin. If there is extra batter, divide it evenly among the cups. They should be very full. Sprinkle the topping over as many of the muffins as you like. I usually do half and half to get different flavors.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.
- To remove from the tin, loosen the tops of the muffins gently with your fingers. Then using a flexible spatula, push down the side of each muffin cup and push the muffin out. This will take some patience and practice. Even if they come out a little messy, they still taste great.
- They may be stored at room temperature up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. They can be thawed at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. This will result in a delightfully crunchy top and moist interior.