The '70s Origin Story Of Morning Glory Muffins

If you're not familiar with the morning glory muffin, the name might make you expect something delicate, pretty, and colorful, like its floral eponym. Were you to order one, sight unseen, you'd undoubtedly be in for a shock, as the muffin is instead brown and lumpy and oh-so-healthy looking. The muffins, it seems, weren't actually named after a flower, but rather a restaurant called the Morning Glory Cafe. The restaurant itself is no longer in existence, but we suspect that it may have been on the crunchy side, as are the muffins themselves ("crunchy" as in hippie, although there is some crunch from the nuts, as well). 

Morning Glory muffins date back to 1978, a time when people were starting to become interested in healthy eating. To that end, the original recipe for these muffins is chock full of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, as it calls for apples, carrots, coconut, pineapple, raisins, and walnuts (or other nuts). When it was published in Gourmet magazine in 1981, it was a huge hit, and a decade later was chosen as one of that magazine's top recipes of the past half-century.

Morning glory muffins may not be as healthy as you think

While morning glory muffins may have been created to appeal to health-conscious hippies, they're actually not all that healthy by 21st-century standards. A single muffin made with the original recipe has 360 calories, 19 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of sugar, and 250 mg of sodium. In contrast, a similarly-sized chocolate chip muffin made with our own recipe comes in at just 291 calories, 14.5 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 23.5 grams of sugar, and 181 milligrams of sodium. The morning glory muffin does, however, provide 4 grams of protein, which is half a gram more than our chocolate chip muffin. Its 2 grams of fiber are more than double the amount in our muffin, too, so we'll acknowledge a slight edge when it comes to these two criteria.

Even if morning glory muffins aren't quite the healthy food they appear to be, they still have numerous fans. All of the different ingredients add up to a whole lot of flavor, plus they make for an interesting contrast in textures, as well. Nor are morning glory muffins dry, as some muffins tend to be (not to single you out, bran, but if the liner fits ... ) since the grated apple helps to keep them moist. Plus, when you eat one, you can tell yourself that you've made a token attempt at eating your five-a-day, even if it does come in a plain brown wrapper.