I was pretty sure I was going to make brownies this weekend but then Saturday morning hit. Normally on a Saturday I try to sleep in until 10 before getting up for my run (I miss the days when 10AM was more likely to be the time I went to sleep). I'm not exactly sure what happened but I didn't leave my bed until 12:30. And I didn't end up finishing breakfast until just south of 3PM. You know what? I wouldn't have changed a thing. It felt good but made baking anything unlikely. Besides, barring the sun going super nova or the world's supply of peanuts being destroyed (why live?), I was pretty sure that tomorrow (i.e. Today) would be a brand new day.
It is my opinion that the best time to bake on a Sunday is in the morning. I like to start before everyone is up so that it's ready when they are. But what to bake? First thought: don't do muffins, you always do muffins. Second thought: muffins are awesome :). So muffins it would be. I had sifted through my bookmarks Saturday night and found this recipe; a muffin that tastes like an oatmeal cookie. Why haven't I made these yet? Further proof that I've lost those last key bits of sanity.
Like any good muffin recipe, this one is straight forward and quick and I didn't make many changes. I even went so far as to keep the sugar at its original amount (who is this guy?). I did increase the salt a bit and added some nutmeg which has definitely become my equivalent of the “industrial-strength hair-dryer,” I can't live without it :). I feel (with no proof) that even if you don't notice the nutmeg specifically, it still manages to enhance existing flavours, much like salt. If this turns out to be a complete falsehood please don't tell me, it was hard enough learning the truth about Kermit. I decided to use raisins instead of chocolate since I'm not a big fan of chocolate in my morning muffins (evening muffins are different). I also didn't add the sugar to the tops of the muffins mostly because I just noticed that step now.
These muffins do indeed taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie but they are very delicate in their flavour, relying heavily on the add-in you choose. It seemed that you needed to get at least one raisin for every bite to balance the flavour. Too few raisins and the muffins were not sweet enough. I almost think you could increase the sugar or perhaps switch to dark brown to round out the flavour. This heavy reliance on the add-in makes me think you should stick with dried fruit or chocolate rather than using nuts. On a relatively strange note, since the muffins do remind you of a an oatmeal raisin cookie it's a little jarring that they lack the cookie crispness (a crereal no longer available in Canada) and the resultant caramelization of the sugars. The sugar topping would likely have helped in this regard as well as with my issue with the sweetness, but perhaps baking at a slightly higher temperature on a higher rack in an attempt to crisp the tops would help as well. Without the sugar topping these muffins are quite soft on top. However, this is a minor gripe, the muffins are quite good as is, but I do think I will increase the sugar for next time (did you just do a spit take? If not, I can assure you that you should have :)).
There is a part of me that finds it a bit unnerving to eat a muffin and have it taste like one of my favourite cookies. Granted it's a good way to work those flavours into my breakfast without having the “I ate cookies for breakfast” feeling. It has even inspired me to start thinking of other ways to incorporate flavours from my favourite snacks into breakfast. I'm thinking M&M's Peanut cereal is a good start; but do you think that a recipe featuring only M&M's Peanuts and milk is missing the point?
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Muffins
Adapted from How Sweet It IsYields 12 standard muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour (130g)
1 cup oats, large flake or quick cooking
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup packed golden yellow or light brown sugar (74g) – if you want it sweeter use dark brown (80g) or increase to 1/2 cup (110g)
1/4 cup butter, melted (57g)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup raisins or any dried fruit or chocolate chips
Coarse sugar to sprinkle (optional) -- I missed this step
Preheat oven to 350F (next time I might try 375F with a rack positioned at the top 1/3 of the oven) and prepare a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl add oats and 1/2 cup of milk and let stand for 10 minutes. To plump raisins: add raisins to a small bowl (or use a mug) and add enough boiling water to cover. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl add egg and sugar and whisk until completely combined. Add butter and vanilla and mix thoroughly until completely combined. Add flour and stir slightly. Add oat mixture and remaining milk and stir until completely combined. If using, drain raisins and gently fold into batter.
Evenly distribute batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (this took me about 17 minutes) -- If using sugar topping sprinkle on the tops of the muffins before placing in oven.
Allow to cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes before removing and serving.