The “All Things are Possible” Muffins: Morning Glory Muffins

“Heavenly Blue” Morning Glories for me are the epitome of promise, of optimism, of hope. As their azure blue blooms unfurl in the bright morning sunlight, they give me the feeling that for today “all things are possible”, a feeling of happiness and sunniness. I’ve always made this connection between Morning Glories and good things since I was a little girl, when Uncle Harold came home from the war (WWII). An army green car with a big star on the side pulled up and parked beside the road in front of Grandma’s house. I now know how ominous that was: Grandma came running out of the house crying, I’m sure, because she was afraid of what this might mean. After all, she did have a banner in her front window with two stars, one for Uncle Arnold and one for Uncle Harold. A very tall handsome soldier, all spit and polished in his U. S. Army uniform, got out of the car with his duffel bag and started walking toward the front door, who we quickly recognized as Uncle Harold. The three of us began hugging, laughing, and crying all the same time. It was such an emotional incident, even though I was little, I could never forget it. I remember it being a bright sunny summer morning and as I looked over at Grandma’s front porch, covered in Morning Glory vines, all of their blooms had opened to their widest width and brightest blue to welcome home Uncle Harold.

I know it’s a leap to go from a seemingly unrelated story where Morning Glories are just part of the narrative to a story about muffins that just happen to be named “Morning Glory”, but honestly, this is the vision that flickers through my mind every time I think of Morning Glory Muffins. Also, these muffins are chock full of so many good things, all symbolizing to me optimism and promise for the day, just like those blue blossoms. They seem to be saying “have a great day”, “good things are going to happen”, and “all things are possible”.

Morning Glory Muffin

Morning Glory Muffin


Morning Glory Muffins were first created by Pamela McKinstry, the owner of the Morning Glory Café on Nantucket, which was in existence for a brief time from 1979-1982, and I would not be surprised if I found out that there were Morning Glory vines growing outside welcoming everyone to breakfast. The recipe was printed in Gourmet in 1981, and because I was such a big fan of the magazine, how sad that it no longer exists, that is when I first became aware of this recipe. It was so popular that it was re-printed in the October 1991 issue as part of an article called “25 Favorite Cookies, Muffins, and Quick Breads”; these were recipes which were culled from all of their past issues in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Gourmet Magazine.

On a trip to the island in 1988, see my post Blueberry Crème Brûlée (7.06.15) about that adventure, I picked up copies of Pamela A. McKinstry’s two spiral-bound cookbooks of recipes from her then current restaurant, the Sconset Café, which still exists under different owners. There on page eight of A Kitchen Collection: Sconset Café—a village café on Nantucket Island (1985) is the recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. The second book is called Kitchen Magic on Nantucket: Recipes from the Sconset Café (1987). I cherish both of these little books.

Because we don’t use as much sugar or fat in our baked goods as was the norm in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I was inspired to create my own version of this recipe, using less of these ingredients. In this recipe, half of the oil is replaced with applesauce (homemade Calvados Applesauce is best!). The combination of all the added goodies remains: carrots, apples, raisins, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. (I also make a Pineapple Compote instead of using canned pineapple.) What genius Pamela McKinstry showed in creating this unique ingredient list for a muffin. I think it will still be legendary many years from now. It should be a candidate for the Food52.com column called Genius Recipes, edited by Kristin Miglore, which is all about legendary recipes. Her new cookbook by the same name is my new favorite.


Prepping the “Add-ins” for Morning Glory Muffins:

Carrots, Apples, Golden Raisins, Pineapple Compote, Walnuts, & Coconut




Morning Glory Muffins: Step-by-Step:




Since this recipe is a “project” (but a well-worth-it project!) with all of the different ingredients, I like to double everything and make 20 muffins. They freeze really well. Place cooled muffins into plastic ziplock bags. When ready to serve, microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute on full power to thaw, then warm 5-10 minutes in an oven or toaster oven @ 300°F (149°C) to crisp up. It’s like having freshly baked muffins.

Double-Batch of Morning Glory Muffins

Double-Batch of Morning Glory Muffins


Morning Glory Muffins
This recipe is chock full of good things: applesauce, carrots, apples, raisins, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. There's just enough batter to hold everything together. I like to use homemade Calvados Applesauce and Pineapple Compote because of their flavor, but you can substitute store-bought applesauce and drained canned pineapple chunks if it is more convenient. When I make either of these things, I usually make a big-enough batch so that I can freeze it in small portions, already scaled out for this recipe. SG


  • 300 grams unbleached all purpose flour (2 cups + 2 T)
  • 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder (8 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (3 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Korintje) (5 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (3 grams)

  • 100 grams whole eggs, lightly beaten with the yolks (2 large)
  • 20 grams egg yolks (1 large)
  • 120 grams canola oil (1/2 cup + 1 T)
  • 120 grams Calvados Applesauce (1/2 cup)
  • - Or store-bought applesauce
  • 10 grams vanilla extract (2 tsp)

  • ADD-INS:
  • 200 grams grated peeled carrots (2 cups) (About ½ pound)
  • - Use box grater or food processor with medium shredding blade
  • 150 grams diced unpeeled apples, cut in ⅜" dice (1½ cups)
  • - About one large Granny Smith Apple
  • 80 grams golden raisins (1/2 cup)
  • 75 grams Pineapple Compote with Less Sugar, drained weight (1/2 cup)
  • - Or drained canned pineapple chunks, cut in half
  • 75 grams walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (2/3 cup)
  • 60 grams sweetened coconut flakes (7/8 cup)
  • Baker's Angel Flake

  • 1510 grams = Total 53 oz (3# 5 oz)

  • 100 grams old-fashioned rolled oats (1 cup)
  • Turbinado sugar (Sugar-in-the-Raw) (as needed)

  1. PRE-HEAT oven to 450º F (232° C).
  2. PREP MUFFIN PANS: Set muffin pan on half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Line muffin cups with 6" diameter paper liners, also called jumbo baking cups, and spray with non-stick spray with flour (Pam with flour) just before filling cups.
  3. WHISK the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. WHISK the liquid ingredients In a separate bowl: eggs, yolks, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Fold the liquids into dry ingredients until the flour is half absorbed, using a big rubber spatula.
  5. TOSS the "Add-ins" together in a big bowl until evenly mixed. Scatter them over the muffin batter and continue folding until evenly incorporated, scraping up the bottom of the bowl and pressing the batter together as you fold.
  6. SCOOP batter into the prepared muffin cups, using a #8 gray scoop (1/2 cup capacity).
  7. FOR TOPPING: SPRINKLE the tops generously, first with Turbinado sugar, then with rolled oats, and then again with more sugar. By layering the sugar and oats, it creates a thin chewy-crunchy crust on top of the muffins.
  8. BAKE: Turn oven down to 425° F (218° C) when the muffins go in and bake for 10 minutes. Then turn oven down to 400° F (204° C) and bake another 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and a wooden skewer tests clean. Rotate pan after 20 minutes of baking. Total baking time 28-30 minutes.
  9. INTERNAL TEMPERATURE = 210° F (99° C), if using a thermometer.
  10. COOL in pans 5-10 minutes, then remove muffins to wire rack to continue cooking. If you have wide-spaced muffin pans, you can set the muffins on top to cool.
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
This is my own creative adaptation, inspired by the original Morning Glory Café recipe (by Pamela McKinstry) from Nantucket, which was printed in Gourmet Magazine in 1981. It was so popular that it was re-printed in the October 1991 issue as part of their article called "25 Favorite Cookies, Muffins, and Quick Breads", which were culled from all of their past issues, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Gourmet. My version has less sugar, less oil, and less leavening. Recipe developed by Shirl Gard 3/30/96.

Morning Glory Muffin

Morning Glory Muffin

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!