Luscious and thick glugs of custardy eggnog, spiked with three types of liquor, made spirits bright. Slices of rosy red rib roast, served with drippings-laden Yorkshire pudding, gave holiday plates heart-stopping heft. And crispy latkes, fried in pools of oil, were heaped with dollop after dollop of sour cream.
But January is inevitable. Instead of remorse over a holiday season well spent, the best medicine may be a simple shift. You don’t need to consign yourself to unmitigated, unhappy restraint. Better to focus on the pleasures of a new set of ingredients, some slightly more virtuous than others, and to ease into the new year with as much joy as you had in the weeks before.
You could start with the morning glory muffin. A holdover from the hippie past, this breakfast confection is full of ingredients that are easy to justify. Whole grain flour, shredded apple and carrot, dried fruit and nuts make every bite count.
But the muffins also happen to be rich and satisfying. A bit of brown sugar, a smattering of coconut and a hit of cinnamon soften the health-food feel and make them something to crave. They have a sweet, tender crumb that gives way to toasted crunch, bursts of tangy chew and undeniable richness.
And if the transition to the new year’s new you requires an even less abrupt switch, try topping these muffins with a delicate swirl of cream cheese frosting. You’ll be left with a cupcake you can feel good about and a resolution worth sticking to.
Morning Glory Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Total time: About 1 hour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded carrot (from 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup shredded apple (from 1 medium apple)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, dark brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir carrot, apple, coconut, 1/2 cup of the walnuts and 1/2 cup of the raisins into the wet mixture. Stir in the melted coconut oil.
3. With a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts and raisins evenly over the tops of the muffins.
4. Bake until puffed and set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffins, in the tin, to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the tin and let cool completely on the rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.