Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Perfect Breakfast Muffin

Breakfast carrot muffins

For some time now, I've been on a quest to discover the perfect breakfast muffin. Though I love the rich, buttery taste of a good cafe muffin as much as the next girl, and much more so with a good sprinkling of streusel and sparkly sugar on top, I don't want to eat this every day. Maybe I've grown up (oh, these dreaded words) and maybe I've just become more picky about what I put in my body and when, but for breakfast, I want something that's not only good, but also that's good for me.

Breakfast carrot muffins

People, oh, people. These are the proverbial IT. When I took the first hot muffin out of the oven, soft and sweet-smelling, deeply golden and flecked with dark, jewel-like nuggets of cranberries, and when I took that first bite, chasing it with a cool gulp of fresh milk, I had to sit down for a moment because I was a little overwhelmed by how much I loved these.

Breakfast carrot muffins

It's the whole package, the earthiness of whole-wheat flour, the complex not-too-sweet sweetness of brown sugar, and that smell - the homey, vanilla-y, spicy smell of a freshly baked muffin. It got to me. I'm sold. Bring it on. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I immediately ate three. These are addictive, especially when warm.)

Breakfast carrot muffins

The Perfect Breakfast Muffin
Hacked quite a bit from Gourmet, May 1998
Makes 18 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups sugar (1/3 brown, 1/3 white)
1/4 pound carrots (about 2/2.5 cups, coarsely shredded)
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped dried apricots
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large apple (coarsely shredded) [I used Gala]

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter or line eighteen muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and then whisk in the sugars.

Coarsely shred the carrots and chop the pecans. Add the carrots, pecans and dried fruit to the flour mixture and toss well.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract. Peel and core the apple and coarsely shred. Stir the shredded apple into the egg mixture and then add to the flour mixture, stirring until batter is just combined well and there aren't any large dry spots.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden and the tester comes out clean, 15-20 minutes (I had to bake for 25).

Cool muffins in cups on racks 5 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely. Muffins keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days [I also flash freeze mine in a tray and then drop into a large freezer bag so I can take one out for breakfast every day].

21 comments:

elra said...

They do look perfect Irene. Muffins with pack of flavor that will give enough energy to start the day.

David said...

Mmmm....all i need now is a tall glass of milk! Those muffins look heavenly.

Chanel11 said...

I shall be bookmarking these...

Beth said...

Yum! These look similar to Morning Glory Muffins which are my favorite! I will have to give these a try. Thanks for sharing!

The Caked Crusader said...

I think you showed great restraint in only eating 3!

proofofthepudding said...

These sound like my kind of muffin. I, too, prefer a healthy/whole-grain muffin for breakfast. Too many muffins these days are really cupcakes in disguise. These look great!

El said...

I completely relate and agree. It's tough to sustain yourself on cinnamon and sugar at 7am but this looks like a great alternative. Yum!

Manggy said...

YES! Though I tend to have the cream cheese and all the not-good-for-me-stuff on it, even for breakfast, hehe ;)

Cherine said...

Wonderful muffins!

Ellie said...

Mmmmm...nutritious and delicious!

Emily said...

I made these this morning and they were great -- thank you! I had to improvise a little because I didn't have any raisins or dried fruit, but they were very tasty. I couldn't resist adding a quick strusel topping with oats and more chopped pecans because I love a "crusty" top on muffins. I was expecting something closer to carrot cake but I was very glad that I was wrong -- and you're right they were great out of the oven. I'll be making many more batches of these!

Irene said...

Streusel - YES!!!

Fiona said...

You know, darling Irene, that reminds of an old snippet from the New York Times' "Metropolitan Diary":

Overheard at the breakfast counter in mid-town, one young woman to another:
-"Thank God for muffins! Otherwise, I'd be eating cake for breakfast every day".

:)

cribs said...

Muffins is a perfect way to start the day. This is heavy for morning.

Irene said...

These muffins are actually very light, being comprise of mostly carrots, apple and yogurt.

Irene said...

Hehe - Fiona, see my next post above. I did have cake for breakfast. ;)

Christine said...

I made these muffins just this morning. Very much like 'morning glory muffins'. Delicious. My husband said they were more like eating 'stuffing' - too chunky for his liking but I loved them. I used sour cream as I did not have yogurt, and I used more than 1/2 lb carrots to get the 2+ cups.

Baker Meg said...

I will definitely try these out! Thanks!

FireintheBreeze (Brittany) said...

LOOKS AMAZING YOU'RE GIVING ME INTENSE CRAVINGS! MON DIEUUUUU

Girdle Girl said...

Oh those muffins look sooo good! never mind just breakfast I could eat them anytime.

Muddskipper said...

I made these this morning and they're delicious! Thanks so much for sharing. I divided the batter and made both regular and mini-sized muffins (so my almost two year old can enjoy them with me).

I'm wondering if I can substitute carrots for shredded zucchini sometime... I may try that.