Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins

February 21, 2008

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins
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.

13 Responses to “Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Cranberry Muffins”


  1. Congratulations! What a satisfying feeling to know that something you set out to create turned out how you wanted it to! Great job!

  2. a. grace Says:

    feel that? that was a pat on the back. nicely done!🙂

  3. RecipeGirl Says:

    Terrific! Something I haven’t yet done- the whole creation thing. I’m a recipe girl. Great job… makes me want to experiment!

  4. krs367 Says:

    As my old friend George Costanza would say “Have a yolk! It won’t kill ya!”

  5. ourkitchensink Says:

    Gretchen: Thanks! “Satisfying” is the perfect word.

    A. Grace: Aw, thanks!

    RecipeGirl: Thank you!

    Kevin: You have been just waiting for the perfect post to bust out your Seinfeld lines, haven’t you? But, may I remind you, that during your taste tests, you didn’t seem to mind the yolk-free muffins, my dear?

  6. Deborah Says:

    I have never created my own recipe – I’m always impressed by people who do. I’m a recipe girl all of the way.

    These sound delicious. I need to start using whole wheat more often, and these would fit the bill!

  7. Louie Says:

    What sort of whole wheat flour do you use? I’ve been using Whole Foods “Pastry” Whole wheat flour in everything from pies to muffins – and it all seems drier than usual. Great taste, bad texture – it lacks moisture. Any thoughts to bring the moisture back into my pseudo-healthy baking endeavors?

  8. Robin Says:

    Congrats! This recipe looks GREAT and that’s a serious compliment because I’m a total muffin snob, I scruitinze a recipe before making it, but yours hits on all the points I love!!😀

    Louie: are you making sure not to stir your muffins too much after adding in the flour? Sometimes that really gets me. I usually use whole wheat pastry and I find that when I combine the wet ingredients by whisking until almost fluffy (as if you were making cookies) that helps gets the light texture I want. 🙂


  9. Great job with the recipe. They are delicious looking muffins!😉

  10. ourkitchensink Says:

    Deborah: Thanks!

    Hi Louie: I’ve used a variety of WW flours (including the Whole Foods one you mention) and can’t tell much of a difference between them. I think Robin’s point about over-mixing is a good one. Also, are you using recipes that call for WW flour? If you’re just substituting WW for AP flour, you might have to do some additional tinkering with the recipe. Recipe sites with comments (e.g. Epicurious) are a great resource for this.

    Robin: Thanks! Your site redesign looks great, btw!

    Made Healthier: Thank you!

  11. JEP Says:

    Oh my, this sounds soo good for weekend munching!

  12. WS Says:

    Just tried your recipe with a slight variation, and it was delicious, thanks!

    Whole wheat flour in general needs slightly more moisture as the fiber does soak up the water. I used frozen fruits instead of dried, and it turned out great.


  13. As WS did, I also used frozen cranberries and the muffins turned out DELICIOUS! I love the tart berries with the sweet muffin-y contrast! YUM! I also added toasted hazelnuts in mine. They were delicious!


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