The inspiration for this recipe came from a friend’s recipe for something she calls Haystack Muffins. You can see where the name derives. These muffins aren’t winning any beauty contests. But man, are they ever good. And good for you. Little nutritional powerhouses. Because my mother and I have long adored to Morning Glory muffins made at a local diner, my version of the Haystack becomes more like a Morning Glory. It’s somewhere on the family tree of the carrot cake, and there is nothing wrong with that. They make for a glorious morning, indeed.
Here, I use the Morning Glory muffin as a vehicle for superfoods. I realize that the word “superfood” tends toward the gastronomically (and socio-politically) trendy and progressive. I embrace this, and proclaim my love for foods that pack a hefty nutritional punch in a teeny-tiny little package.
Superfoods are Aladdin’s Genie: Phenomenal cosmic power!!! Itty-bitty living space. They are absolutely loaded with good stuff, and they are very often foods that our human ancestors consumed regularly but we modern folks no longer eat. Often, we no longer realize they exist.
You mean Chia seeds are good for something other than Chia Pets? Indeed they are.
For all their glory, and in spite of their tiny size, superfoods can be hard to work into the dietary rotation. And honestly, if one were to actually consume the daily recommended amount of every nut, seed, berry, bean, dark leafy green, purple food, red food, fermented food, whole food, and sprouted food on the superfood list…let’s just say that indigestion would be first on a long list of digestive woes. So I make these muffins when I’m in the mood not only for the dietetically virtuous, but for the gastronomically super. I make them so that I have a convenient vehicle for working some nutritional powerhouses into my everyday diet.
These muffins take advantage of super seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. They even use a chia seed egg replacer for a little added super power. But lest you fear this renders them inedible, let me assure you that they don’t taste like tree bark. They’re incredibly good. My husband likes them, and he is not one for trendy little super seeds. After he reads this post, I’m expecting him to say something along the lines of, “You didn’t tell me those were weird muffins.” But the muffins are so good, I’m betting he’ll still eat them.
Here’s the team of Super Friends:
Sunflower seeds. Loaded with vitamins E, B1, B6, magnesium, and folate, among other things.
Chia seeds are absolutely a food trend at the moment. They’re everywhere in the health food aisles. But deservedly so. Yes, they have a kitschy past in the Chia Pet department, but they’re pretty amazing. This is primarily a factor of their fiber content. As fiber is known to do, they sweep junk out of the system on their way through. They also have those magical Omega 3 fatty acids. And they are a great non-dairy source of calcium. So your gut will love them and your brain and bones will love them, too. Check out this recent HuffPost article on their benefits.
Flax seeds are the Old Faithful of the superfood scene. They’ve been around for a while, and are well known sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. They have antioxidants to spare.
Hello, hemp seeds. “Hemp?” You might be thinking. “What sort of hippie nonsense is this?” “Are those even legal?” Yes, hemp conjures images of hippies wearing hemp t-shirts and recycled sandals, sitting around, getting high. Yes, hemp is friends with marijuana. No, hemp seeds won’t get you high.
Hemp seeds are a new favorite of mine. I put a couple of scoops in my smoothies every morning. They are a great source of protein, Omega 3 and Omega 6, and a heap of vitamins and antioxidants.
None of these super star foods is particularly inexpensive, except for perhaps the sunflower seeds. But a single bag will last a long time. I store them in containers in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life.
Here go the muffins:
SUPERFOOD MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
A couple of notes: 1) These muffins are vegan, if you’re a sugar-eating vegan. 2) Go ahead and use eggs instead of the chia seed egg replacer if you prefer to use eggs; the resulting muffins will be a little more airy, and a little less vegan. 3) Substitute whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruits you like or have on hand.
1 1/2 c. grated carrot
1 1/2 c. grated apple
1 recipe chia seed egg replacer (replaces 2 eggs): 2 tbsp. chia seeds, 6 tbsp water
1/2 c. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. of water
1/3 c. shredded coconut
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (or unbleached AP flour if you don’t have whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. raisins
1/3 c. chopped pecans
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
3 tbsp. flax seeds
3 tbsp. hemp seeds
(2 tbsp. chia seeds if you use eggs instead of the chia seed egg replacer)
Step 1, as ever: pour some tea and turn on the cooking tunes.
Then preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Make the egg replacer: Mix 2 tbsp chia seeds with 6 tbsp water in a small dish. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. The seeds will gel in the water. If you have a spice grinder, you can grind these into a meal before soaking them. It works either way.
This can also be done with flax seed meal, if you prefer or if you want an egg replacer that does not have big black seeds in it.
Grate the carrots and apples. I used Granny Smith for their tartness, but use whatever you like and have on hand.
Add the egg replacer, oil, and vanilla. Stir. Add the water, as needed, to adjust the consistency. If you use eggs, you will not likely need the water.
Stir the coconut and sugar into the wet ingredients. Sugar is a wet ingredient in baking.
Mix the seeds together.
Mix the dry ingredients with the seeds: flour, raisins, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, pecans.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Scoop into muffin tins lined with muffin cups (or very well greased). These muffins do not have a lot of “lift” in the oven, so fill them to the top.
Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown and appear dry. Cool on a rack, store in an air tight container.
Makes 16 muffins.
Happy Super Baking!