Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins
February 21, 2008
Big news, folks. Those muffins you see up there? The craggley, rustic, scrumptious looking ones? Well, I made them. I mean, obviously, I made them. But I really made these. As in, I invented them. Sure, I’ve created other recipes, but they’ve all fallen squarely in the a-little-of-this, a-little-of-that category. Soup, salads, salsas. That kind of thing. But I’ve never created a recipe for a baked good before. So, I’m a teensy, weensy bit proud of myself.
The idea of these muffins was born from a couple other recipes you’ve seen on this site. I wanted to draw on the flavors of the baked oatmeal I made over Christmas. And, since I made the whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, I’ve been excited to try the soak-the-oats-in-buttermilk trick in other formats. I looked in all my usual spots for a potential recipe but any that even came close to fitting the bill involved boatloads of butter and crates of sugar. That not being my style, I decided to blaze a new trail.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
But I didn’t blaze said trail in an entirely fearless way. I’ve heard more than enough times that “baking is a science,” and a scientist I am not. But I pulled my best Bill Nye and staged an elaborate experiment. I created two basic versions of the same recipe—one very well-behaved version (whole wheat and egg whites) and one more “decadent” (ha) version (half whole wheat flour/half all purpose flour and—brace yourselves—a full egg). With each of these two basic versions, I added dried cranberries to half. So, in my twelve-muffin tin, I had four rows of different variations on the same theme.
My conclusion: science schmience! Turns out, all four versions were delicious, if I do say so myself. My taste tester (despite my elaborate experiment system) just tore into one of each and, mouth still full, pronounced them all divine. As I tried to interrogate him (Which texture and crumb do you prefer? Do you like them with or without the dried fruit? Any differences in appearance?) he just kept asking, “What are these for? I can have one for breakfast tomorrow, right?” Realizing that the Science Gal routine didn’t suit me much anyway, I told him that yes, of course, he could have one tomorrow. But that he had to save one for me, too.
Recipe by Kristin (!!)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup whole-wheat flour (or if you must, 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 lightly beaten egg whites (or if you’re feeling lavish, one whole egg)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons natural, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit) (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons raw sugar or sanding sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers.
While the oven preheats and the oats soak, whisk the flour, powder, soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, honey, butter, apple sauce and vanilla. Fold the oatmeal mixture into the egg white mixture in the large bowl, stirring only until combined. Next, fold the flour mixture into the large bowl, stirring only until combined. Finally, fold in the dried cranberries (optional).
Divide the batter between the 12 lined cups. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with the sugar (optional). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool slightly in their papers on a rack. Serve warm or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.