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Whole Grains Ahoy!

September 20, 2010

I’ve had plenty of incredible meals and treats in my lifetime, but for some reason some just stand out like little beacons in my memory. Of course this is due to deliciousness, but I think it also has to do with the moments surrounding the food encounter– the people, the place, the events. I don’t remember how I ended up trying the Sailor Jacks at the Cannon Beach Bakery (I don’t even like raisins!), but somehow it happened and I’ve been hooked ever since. If you’ve never visited Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast, it’s an adorable beach town usually shrouded in clouds and mist, but charming even so. My mom owns a house in nearby Gearhart and every time I visit I make sure to take the short drive south to Cannon Beach, usually on the pretense of walking on the beach, but most certainly with the intention of hitting up the bakery.

The last time I was there with some friends (nearly two years ago!), I made sure to share with them the joys of the Sailor Jack. It’s fairly simple-looking– a little brown muffin, flipped on its head and lightly glazed– but inside it’s plain package is a symphony of spices and chewy raisins (did I mention I don’t like raisins?). Did they offer it as a sample that first time I tried it? Did my mom order it and offer me a bite? I honestly can’t recall, but what does it matter? The little nautically-named treat has a special place in my heart/stomach. And it kills me that I have to go all the way to Oregon to get my hands on one…

Or do I?

I recently purchased King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, a thick, informative tome of recipes. I sat down with it immediately, Post-It tabs in hand, I flipped through the recipes to mark the ones I wanted to bake ASAP. And there it was. Hanging out in the muffin section.

Sailor Jacks


Sugar & Spice Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (or allspice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or currants)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg


  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp milk (or water)


1. Start out making the sugar and spice mixture. Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool. The mixture will be thick and gooey. I did this the night before to give it time to chill completely. I also used currants since I like them better than raisins and had them on hand. The smell of this cooking was divine. My roommate came out of her room demanding to know what the heavenly scent was.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the batter by combining the flours, oats, baking soda and baking powder. Add the sugar and spice mixture, oil, and egg. Stir gently to combine.

3. Portion the dough into 12 greased muffin tins (you can use paper liners, but you’ll just have to remove them in order to glaze the muffins). Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I always rotate my pan 180 degrees halfway through cooking.

4. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely. These are traditionally served upside down so they look more like little cakes than muffins, but you don’t have to do this. Well…yes you do. It just wouldn’t be the same.

5. Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk together. The original recipe (above) makes enough only to drizzle the tops of the cakes. I changed it to a double recipe so I could dunk them completely in glaze since this is how they are made in Cannon Beach. You should do this, too. Let the glaze set completely. Yum!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Whitney permalink
    November 7, 2010 4:55 pm

    I remember that trip and I am very excited that you found a Sailor Jack recipe. No I don’t have to wait for the school breaks to go and enjoy a Jack!
    Great blogging.


  2. August 21, 2011 2:55 pm

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    These are my absolute favorite! I just came back from Cannon Beach and set to work immediately trying to find this recipe and imagine my surprise coming across your blog! 🙂

    • August 21, 2011 3:38 pm

      So glad I could help! They really are incredibly delicious aren’t they?

      • August 21, 2011 7:40 pm

        Oh my goodness yes!
        Have you tried your hand at the Almond Poppyseed ones? I have been searching forever for that recipe as well…

        Thanks again, you totally made my day!
        And great blog. 🙂

      • August 21, 2011 10:25 pm

        I’ve never had their poppyseed ones– I’ll have to try one the next time I’m down there so I can recreate them!

  3. cb_ro permalink
    August 23, 2011 3:49 pm

    We eat these awesome muffins every time we’re there! While I’ve never been able to find a recipe before yours, the woman at the CB Bakery once told us her secret is to soak the raisins overnight to maintain the moisture in the muffins. Can’t wait to try this!

  4. August 23, 2011 8:19 pm

    Oh, please please do and look me up okay?! 🙂


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