I have been waiting so long to make these muffins. For the last 3 years, while Yancey's been trying to become a firefighter, our conversations would go something like this:
Me: If you get in, I can't wait to bake treats. What should I make your first day?
Yancey: I don't know, Sarah. It's a long time until that happens, if it ever does.
Me: I know, but I'm believing. I know it will happen. And they are going to love to my cooking.
How's that for confidence? There were many days, weeks, months, when this dream of ours seemed foolish and far-off. But dreaming about baking for the firefighters was one of the things that kept me going. As Emily said when he got the job, "Sarah, it's a whole new group of people for you to love on!"
After four months of training, today is Yancey's first day at the station and he starts his first real shift on Memorial Day. Meaning, he'll be driving the ambulance. [Freak out here.] He's what's called a "probie" (short for "probationary firefighter") and they are not messing around with this probation thing. Very few missteps are allowed. And part of what's he's learned by talking to other probies is that baked goods are expected (along with washing the dishes, always saying "yes, sir" and volunteering every time to clean the toilet.) Did they hire the right guy or what?
Wyatt helped me last night, judiciously stirring the dry ingredients and remembering all the times I've made these for birthday parties. On those occasions, I top them with cream cheese frosting for a part healthy/part fattening effect that pleases both adults and children. I've also made them without frosting for all the teachers and staff at Van Asselt Elementary. I had a couple teachers thank me for not bringing in doughnuts. (I revere doughnuts, but I think they get too many of them.)
Taking the muffins out of the oven and arranging them on a tray was almost unbearably poignant for me. Yancey's perseverance in this process has been so inspiring, and I love to think of him out there doing his job. I cannot think of someone I'd rather have around in an emergency or someone better suited to bring a comforting, calming presence to people who are confused or afraid.
And I cannot wait to spoil those firefighters. Watch out for The Leftoverist.
Morning Glory Muffins
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook--this recipes makes 30 muffins, but I never halve it. You can freeze or give away extras.
4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 ts. baking soda
4 ts. cinnamon
2 ts. salt
12 carrots, peeled and grated (I used my food processor)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut
2 c. vegetable oil
2 ts. vanilla
Line muffin tin (or tins) with muffin liners or butter them. Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl. Stir in carrots, pecans, coconut, and apples. Whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla in another bowl, then add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them to the top. Bake muffins, in batches if necessary (I have a convection oven. Don't hate me.), until springy to the touch, about 30 minutes per batch. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm or room temperature.