John Barricelli's most recent book, The Seasonal Baker, is filled with recipes created in John's home kitchen (and soon to be yours!). The easy recipes all contain either fresh fruits or veggies.
John, who is the owner of The Sono Baking Company in South Norwalk and Westport, admits these "Glorious Morning Muffins" are his 'personal favorite for the bakery because they travel so well'. He adds that his son Peter loves them and "thinks he's eating a cupcake." But they are far healthier than cupcakes!
From "The Seasonal Baker" by John Barricelli:
Makes 18 Muffins
½ cup pecan pieces
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup peeled, cored, and coarsely grated Granny Smith apple
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup sweetened angel flake coconut
½ cup golden raisins
Sanding sugar (optional)
John's tip: "I always place muffin pans on a baking sheet before baking. A baking sheet catches spills and is much easier to maneuver than a muffin pan. This way, the pan can be removed from the oven without damaging the muffins."
1. Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 18 standard muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, or generously butter with softened butter; set aside.
2. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated and brown sugars and the oil until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk well to blend. Stir in the apple and carrot with a rubber spatula. Add to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir with the spatula just until the flour has been absorbed. Do not overmix. Fold in the coconut, raisins, and pecans.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the sanding sugar, if using.
6. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the muffins are golden brown, the tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.
7. Transfer the muffin pan to a cooking rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the pan and let cool entirely on the rack.