Friday, May 9, 2014

Utah Muffins: Ever Heard of Mormon Muffins? These Aren't Those

What the heck's a Mormon muffin?

If you ever get to Ogden, Utah, you should go to  Rainbow Gardens, and try a Mormon Muffin at The Greenery. The huge gift shop sprawls over the property, and can entertain a shopper for hours, but before you leave, make sure you stop at The Eatery for a Mormon muffin. Or six to go. Trust me; they're that good.

This is not a Mormon Muffin. It's my own Quasi-Mormon Muffin, which
poses as a Mormon Muffin, but in actuality, is not.

What makes a Mormon muffin "Mormon,"  you may wonder. They don't contain coffee or tea, but what muffin does? These taste great with any beverage, hot or cold, so it's not about the caffeinated drinks. One glance at the recipe, and it's easy to tell the Mormon pioneers didn't bring this recipe across the plains in their handcarts; All-Bran cereal is one of the main ingredients, and I'm pretty sure Kellogg's cereal wasn't around in 1847. 

I decided to do a little online research. Kellogg went into business in 1906, and introduced All-bran in 1916, for your information. According to a 2013 article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Ron King, who owns the restaurant, says the muffins were inspired by his Mormon pioneer ancestors. A chef helped him develop the recipe when he wanted to create a similar treat he had eaten at his great-grandmother's house. Now you know as much as I do about Mormon muffins.

One of my dear relatives from the Ogden area raved about these muffins, and treated me to them more than once. The muffins at The Eatery are jumbo-sized. They are deliciously sweet, and judging by the oily ring they leave on a napkin, they are loaded with oil. Calorie counts vary on different websites, but according to Calorie Count, the calorie total is 221 for one regular-sized muffin. (We don't even want to know how many calories are in the jumbo ones at Rainbow!) When you top them with the mouth-watering honey butter...YIKES.

Enter the Utah muffin...

If you know me at all, you know I can't stand to leave a recipe alone. I wanted to see if I could improve on the nutritional content. The link to the original recipe is HERE. A friend of mine who has made them says the texture is just not the same as the ones made at Rainbow Gardens. Mine are slightly different, too, because of the alterations, but they have a nice flavor, and a good texture. These held together well, and were not too heavy, considering the addition of whole wheat flour.  I just wanted to see if I could cut the saturated fat and sugar, and use less processed flour, and more whole wheat. I don't bake with shortening, which is in the original recipe. Why mess with perfection, you may ask. Because I can. It's just how I roll.

After tweaking the recipe, not TWERKING, although a little extra exercise would offset any caloric miscalculations, these muffins came in at approximately 165 calories, per serving, which seems to be two small muffins. I keep the calorie count down by serving them without honey butter, but if you want the Rainbow Room experience, pull out the stops, and slather that stuff on! 

Be. Still. My. Heart. 

Here's my recipe. Since these are not exactly Mormon Muffins, and I haven't been to church in a coon's age, I have come up with two possible names for my recipe:


MOCK MORMON MUFFINS (Take your pick!)

calculated by
My Fitness Pal

2 cups boiling water
5 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 c. Greek nonfat, plain yogurt
1/2 c. canola oil or coconut oil
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. stevia
4 eggs
1 quart buttermilk
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. salt
4 c. All-Bran cereal
2 c. 40% bran flakes cereal
1 c. walnuts, chopped

Add baking soda to boiling water. Set aside.

In a mixer, whip yogurt, canola oil, sugar and stevia together. Add eggs, and buttermilk, and whip.

In a large bowl, combine the regular and whole wheat flour, and salt. Trust me, after MY RECENT EXPERIENCES WITH MY KITCHENAID, even the Professional mixer is no match for a recipe this big. JUST DO IT THE WAY THE PIONEERS DID: Stir in the wet ingredients BY HAND. Then add the water and baking soda.

Add the cereals and walnuts to the mixture. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator in a covered container. NOTE: Rainbow Gardens lets theirs refrigerate for TWO nights. Batter can be stored in refrigerator for one week. I will save some of mine for Mother's Day morning, and see if there is an improvement over today's. 

Use a 1/4 cup of batter per muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

The original recipe states it makes 36 muffins, using 1/8 c. batter per muffin. I found that I could make 36 muffins using a HEAPING 1/8 cup (more like 1/4 cup) per tin, and I STILL had almost a half a bowl of batter left! My assumption, then, is that a serving is actually two small muffins.

DISCLAIMER: I provided the nutritional information above for those who like knowing that sort of thing. It's not an exact science, apparently, as different websites offer different calculations, using identical ingredients. I used My Fitness Pal's tool. 

If you have a preference for a recipe name, leave me a comment. I'm still undecided about that detail. I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I have to admit that Jack-Mormon muffin is what caught my eye so that would be my vote. I actually live in Ogden but haven't eaten one in ages but am now craving one. Thank you very much! Haha
    I have Chemo brain at the moment but isn't the eatery actually named The Greenery? It's up Ogden Canyon, used to be Rainbow Gardens Bowling Alley that took up most of the property but now it is the beautiful gift shop and the restaurant. It is beautiful if any of you get the chance for a visit, it's surrounded by the river and the mountains...can't beat that.

    Your recipe sounds yummy and will have to try them when I have my energy back and am feeling better. Thanks :)

    1. Jenifer, first of all, I hope you feel stronger every day from here on out! Thanks for the eatery name; I fixed the name. You are exactly right! I hope you either get to Rainbow Gardens, or feel up to making some muffins soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...and suggestions. Mock Mormon Muffin is good, too!

  2. Hi,
    Me again....sorry but "Mock-Mormon-Muffin" just popped into my head. What do you think?
    Good luck with whichever name you decide on.
    Take care

    1. So, how about Mock Mormon Muffin and/or UTAH Muffin? I changed the title. :-)


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