Earlier this week, a friend asked me to recommend a culinary magazine worth subscribing to. I immediately sent my response: Cook’s Illustrated of course! Not only are the recipes tasty, but the magazine’s editors really get into the science behind ingredients and technique, which makes for an interesting read. And since it only comes out bi-monthly, I feel like I actually have a chance to read one issue before the next arrives in my mailbox. I tell you this because a) you should really get a subscription to CI, and b) because I was perusing the January/February 2013 issue when I came upon this recipe for oatmeal muffins.
I’m not much of an oatmeal cookie fan, but I do enjoy the grain in a muffin. Maybe it’s because when I crave a cookie, I almost always want there to be chocolate in there, but I like my muffins on the healthier, breakfasty food side. Plus, oatmeal muffins are a good snack for Charlie and I liked this particular recipe because it only called for brown sugar. It also had the words “Really Good” in its title, and I wanted to judge for myself. I will admit that this recipe takes a bit more time and effort, what with the toasting of the oats and then processing them in a food processor. But the effort is worth it: the muffins have a perfect texture—moist and hearty too! (I mean who wants to eat a wimpy muffin?) I immediately bagged the majority of my dozen and stored them in the freezer for later snacking and I am happy to report that they freeze well too. If you’ve got a lazy weekend morning or are having friends for brunch, this is a go to recipe. I am already thinking about my next batch!
Really Good Oatmeal Muffins
FOR THE TOPPING:
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (1 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine
1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE MUFFINS:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons melted
2 cups (6 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cups packed (9 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten
FOR THE TOPPING: Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to thoroughly combine; set aside.
FOR THE MUFFINS: Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden brown and smell of cooking popcorn, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer oats to food processor and process into fine meal, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to oats and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
Stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth. Add milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Using whisk, gently fold half of oat mixture into wet ingredients, tapping whisk against side of bowl to release clumps. Add remaining oat mixture and continue to fold with whisk until no streaks of flour remain. Set aside batter for 20 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (about ½ cup batter per cup; cups will be filled to rim). Evenly sprinkle topping over muffins (about 2 tablespoons per muffin). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and serve or let cool completely before serving.