Last year, I visited New England in the early autumn for a work event. The itinerary included a tour of two different organic dairy farms, one in upstate New York and the other in northern Vermont, so we stayed partway between the two at a charming inn a little further south in Vermont.
On the second full day, we ended up with a few free hours in the afternoon to relax back at the inn, so I pulled on my sneakers and headed out to the inn’s grounds. The property included multiple hiking trails, which wove across a stream and around the thick forest of incredibly tall and stately trees.
Armed with only my phone (which simply acted as a camera, seeing as there was zero cell service in those hills!), I walked alone, listening to the birds happily chirping and the sounds of dry leaves crunching underneath my feet. I followed the well-marked trails, climbing over massive tree trunks that had fallen across the narrow path and hopping across stones in the gently flowing water, all while marveling at just how dense, lush, and peaceful those parts of New England were compared to my San Diego home.
Not many people realize… Once you leave the beaches on the coast, most of San Diego is actually a desert!
With the cool and overcast weather, I never overheated on my two-hour hike, and by the time I arrived back at the inn, sipping on a cup of coffee back in my cozy room just sounded perfect. I brewed a fresh mug with the coffee maker the innkeeper left for us in one of the lounges, and I slowly savored it while sitting in the comfy chair in my room, looking out at the fields and forest through my window.
As I enjoyed the view and reminisced about our whirlwind trip, full of new friends and fun travel and really good food, I also thought about how lovely it would be to live there…
Until I remembered that it snows — a lot — in much of New England… And although I loved that cloudy fall weather, my body just can’t take that much freezing cold!
With our California weather finally starting to turn cooler, we’ve actually experienced a few of those overcast days here… Which brought back memories of that trip, my hike, and that cozy cup of afternoon coffee. And of course, whenever I think about cloudy days and hot coffee, I always start craving baked goods to go with them…
Kind of like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” only this time, it’s “If You Give Amy a Cloudy Day”… She’s going to want coffee and a pastry to go with it!
So I satisfied my pastry cravings with these Healthy Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins! They’re incredibly moist and bursting with sweet pumpkin and cozy spice flavors — absolutely perfect for autumn weather!
These healthy muffins also contain a plethora of yummy mix-ins that boost their comforting flavor: carrots, apples, raisins, pecans, and coconut. Despite their indulgent taste and perfectly tender texture, these healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins are 117 calories and surprisingly simple to make!
WHAT ARE MORNING GLORY MUFFINS?
What are morning glory muffins? I’m so glad you asked! 😉
Morning glory muffins were first created around 1980 (some people say 1978, others say 1981, so let’s just split the difference for now!) by Chef Pam McKinstry. She ran the Morning Glory Café in Nantucket, and she came up with the muffin recipe to serve her patrons.
The original morning glory muffins included carrots, apples, raisins, coconut, nuts (pecans or walnuts!), and cinnamon. Some sources say the originals also included pineapple, while others omit it. Regardless… They were chock-full of delicious mix-ins!
However, most sources agree that the original morning glory muffins recipe seems to have called for all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and an entire cup of oil. Not exactly healthy… So I definitely changed that with my recipe!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
Let’s go over how to make these healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins!
You’ll start with white whole wheat flour and homemade pumpkin spice. Contrary to what it sounds like, white whole wheat flour doesn’t contain any all-purpose (aka “white” flour) at all! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture.
So the bottom line? When you use white whole wheat flour, you get nutrient-packed pumpkin morning glory muffins that still have an incredibly moist and fluffy texture, just like if you had used all-purpose flour. I call that a win-win!
As tempting as it may be to reach for that jar of store-bought pumpkin spice, I highly recommend you make your own. I always do! I love a higher ratio of the other spices compared to what most store-bought jars include because I find that gives a richer, cozier, and much more satisfying flavor. In my homemade pumpkin spice, I include cinnamon (← that kind is my favorite!), allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
Hint: Pumpkin spice is short for “pumpkin pie spice,” meaning the spices used in the filling of pumpkin pie. It doesn’t actually include any pumpkin!
Unlike the original recipe that called for 1 cup of oil… You just need a mere ½ tablespoon of butter or oil for this recipe. That really helps keep your healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins low calorie and low fat!
Then the rest of their incredibly moist and fluffy texture comes from pumpkin purée and Greek yogurt! If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, then you already know how much I love Greek yogurt. It adds the same moisture to your batter as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories, and it gives your healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins a protein boost, too!
Make sure you use regular pumpkin purée! I use canned pumpkin as a shortcut. During the fall, many stores also set out cans of “pumpkin pie mix” or “pumpkin pie filling,” but don’t get fooled. You want the plain ol’ pumpkin purée for these healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins!
Also unlike the original recipe that called for over 1 cup of granulated sugar… You’ll sweeten your muffins with liquid stevia instead! Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also highly concentrated. You just need 2 ½ teaspoons to sweeten your entire batch of healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins!
Hint: Not all stevia brands and products have the same sweetness level! For the best results, I recommend using the same liquid stevia I do. I buy it online here because that’s the best price I’ve found, and you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!
Time for all of those yummy bonus mix-ins! First up? Freshly grated carrots. Yes, they must be freshly grated! Store-bought pre-shredded carrots (also called “matchstick” carrots) are thicker and drier, so they don’t fully soften or bake the same. I know it takes a bit of extra effort to grate your own, but I promise these healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins are worth it!
Tip: If you have a food processor with a grater attachment, that makes the grating process fly by much faster!
Next come the apples! I love Fuji apples for baking recipes because they’re deliciously sweet, and they’re also firm enough to hold their shape without disintegrating into a mushy, mealy mess. Fuji’s are definitely by baking go-to apples! And because someone always asks… I leave the peel on. I’m lazy! 😉
Moving right along to… Raisins! I actually have a special trick for baking with raisins: hydrate them first! Add them to a bowl, cover them with water, add a lid, and pop them in the microwave for a minute. Let them sit while you measure and mix together the rest of the ingredients. This makes your raisins exceptionally plump and juicy — and oh so irresistible!
Finally, you’ll also fold diced nuts and shredded unsweetened coconut into your muffin batter. I actually don’t care that much for nuts and coconut in my baked goods so… That’s why the amounts are so small. Most of the time, I actually skip these! But that’s the awesome thing about these healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins. They’re easily customized to suit your particular taste!
One last tip for you! Low fat muffin batters (like this one!) tend to stick to cupcake liners like superglue. If you coat your liners with cooking spray first, then they peel away much more easily!
And if they still stick after baking… Then seal your healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins inside of an airtight container for 24+ hours. That also helps loosen the liners so they peel away more easily!
Enjoy your yummy breakfast muffins! And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy pumpkin morning glory muffins!
Healthy Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 4 ¼ tsp homemade pumpkin spice (see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- ¾ cup (183g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (60mL) nonfat milk
- ½ cup (120mL) water
- 1 ½ cups (160g) freshly grated carrots (about 2 medium-large, peeled first!)
- ¾ cup (94g) finely diced Fuji apple (about 1 small)
- ¼ cup (40g) raisins (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (14g) finely diced pecans
- 2 tbsp (10g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat 13 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (If using liners, then line 13 muffins cups with liners and coat them with cooking spray.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla extract, and liquid stevia. Add in the pumpkin purée and Greek yogurt, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in the milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently fold in the carrots, apples, raisins, pecans, and coconut.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 26-29 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Morning Glory Muffins
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Scones
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy pumpkin recipes!