From Scratch, With Love

I’m a Big Muffin Fan

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I’m really into muffins.  I think it has something to do with my obsession with breakfast.  Also, with muffins, you just need a good base recipe, then you can add whatever you want to it.  Finally, muffins are very forgiving and unlike cupcakes and many other baked goods, you don’t need to measure too carefully.

There are a couple things I like to do with muffins that might sound a little different.  First of all, I always use buttermilk.  I like the tang and the moisture it adds.  Second of all, I always separate my egg whites and yolks and beat the egg whites.  It adds a nice fluffines.  Finally, I always use melted butter, not oil.  It gives it a wonderfully buttery flavor.

After making oatmeal pancakes a couple months ago, I decided that the same idea could be applied to muffins.  See, muffins and buttermilk pancakes have a lot of similarities.  Have you noticed?  A base muffin recipe is basically a base pancake recipe with a little more sugar and a little less liquid.  I tried to adjust this recipe twice.  The first time they came out a little too dense, indicating I used a little too much liquid.  They were also too sweet and oily.

The second time (yesterday) they came out perfectly.  I brought them to my running club and I was inundated with praise.  The oatmeal gives them a nice texture, and the molasses gave it a rich flavor.  In addition, they are pretty healthy, as muffins go, since I didn’t have to use a lot of butter and sugar (in case you are wondering they’re about 180 calories each).

Having just gotten Perfect Light Desserts (by Nick Malgieri) after trying the chewy oatmeal raisin cookies that David Lebovitz posted on his blog, I was also inspired to add a little applesauce to replace some of the oil, so the muffins would be less greasy but still moist.  Here’s the base recipe I created, along with some ideas for variations.  I made them into oatmeal raisin muffins, which I think would be great around the holidays.  As a side note, those oatmeal raisin cookies from Perfect Light Desserts are amazing – they stay chewy for days and are really good as ice cream sandwich cookies AND they’re only 55 calories each.  I recommend trying them.

Andrea’s New Muffin Base Recipe (Inspired by Kim Boyce’s Oatmeal Pancake Recipe from Good to the Grain)

Preheat oven to 400 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or grease each cup individually.

Prepare 1 cup of oatmeal and let cool.  To do so, boil 1 cup of water and add 1/2 cup of old fashioned or quick cooking oats.  Cook according to package directions.

Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave or a double-boiler and let cool.

In a large bowl, sift together:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Set aside.

Separate 2 eggs, putting the whites in a clean medium bowl, and the yolks in a small bowl.  To the yolks, add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon molasses, and 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce.

Beat the egg whites with a whisk or hand-held mixer until soft peaks begin to form (not until stiff).

Now it’s time to mix it all together.  Make sure your oven is preheated, so that the muffins can go right into the oven before the baking powder is fully activated.

First, pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.  Gently stir until the flour is just moistened.  It will still be quite solid and dry.  Next, add the cooked oatmeal and gently fold it until just incorporated.  It will be lumpy.  That’s okay.  Next, fold in the melted butter (again, until just incorporated).  Add the beaten egg whites and fold gently.  Don’t worry about mixing it in too thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  You want them basically all the way full, unlike with cupcakes, to get a nice mushroom top.  If you don’t get all 12 muffin cups full, add about 2 tablespoons of water to the empty cups to keep the pan from getting ruined and to add some moisture to the oven.

Bake for about 17 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.  You might want to bake it a little longer if you like the muffin tops crunchy.


For Blueberry Muffins: Add a fresh grating of nutmeg to the dry ingredients. Toss 2 cups of rinsed fresh blueberries with a couple of tablespoons of the dry ingredients (so they don’t sink) and fold them into the batter after the egg whites.

For Oatmeal Raisin Muffins: add a sprinkling of cinnamon to the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of raisins (or dried cranberries) to the batter after the dry ingredients.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  Try adding chocolate chips, orange zest, chopped toasted nuts, mushed bananas, or grated apples.  You can substitute brown sugar for the white sugar and molasses (added to the buttermilk instead of the dry ingredients).  Let me know what you come up with!

Storage: Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for a couple of days or indefinitely in the freezer.  Defrost at room temperature overnight or in the oven at 400 for 7-10 minutes.  Enjoy the nice crunch the oven gives the muffin.


Written by poperatzii

July 18, 2010 at 9:58 am

One Response

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  1. […] About Andrea « I’m a Big Muffin Fan […]

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