The right buttons
Before we get started: thank you for your comments on my previous post, and for sharing so many good tips and ideas about feeding families. May I say that you all seem like great parents? You seem so sane. (Sanity! Sometimes I think it’s the highest goal.) I’m going to get unbecomingly sappy for a minute and say, yet again, how happy I am to have this space, this community of sorts. I know I’ve said it before, but I think about it even more often than I say it.
I also think about leftover oatmeal muffins. I think about leftover oatmeal muffins even more often than I think about oatmeal, which is inconvenient, because you obviously have to have oatmeal before you can have leftover oatmeal muffins. Annnnd now you know why I make oatmeal. I’ve been keeping it from you all this time.
Of course, good oatmeal, like Megan’s oatmeal in the link up there, reheats so well that there’s no reason not to eat it on the second day. By all means, eat your leftover oatmeal. But should you ever find yourself with not-as-good-as-Megan’s oatmeal, or should you be bored with eating oatmeal as oatmeal, or should you be only human in that you would rather have a muffin (which some people like to remind us, wanh wanh WAAAH, is basically cake) than hot cereal, you should laminate this recipe and stick it to the fridge. I first heard about it from Lisa, who (I think) heard about it from Amanda Soule, who quietly slipped her recipe into the end of a blog post a couple of years ago. And now I am here to shout about it.
I’ve made these muffins many times, many different ways. At some point, I discovered that there’s also a recipe for leftover oatmeal muffins in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and the way I make mine is a hybrid of that one and Amanda’s. I use more butter than Amanda does – though there’s still not much; you could certainly try more – and I use less baking powder. As muffins go, these are not sweet, not heavy, and they’re also not especially cake-like. They’re just cake-like enough to push the right buttons, but not to set off any alarms. They have a wonderful chew, the way most baked goods involving oats do, and if you use steel-cut oatmeal, it’s especially nice. The steel-cut oats almost seem to crackle – don’t know how that could be, but they do – in your mouth. And it’s a handy recipe, too, because in addition to taking care of your leftover oatmeal, it will also absorb any flavorings you want to add: nuts (ding ding!), seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, chunks of chocolate (ding ding!), spices, whatnot. I call this recipe a keeper.
The one thing I should say: because these muffins don’t have a great abundance of butter, they really are best on the first day. I know a lot of recipes say that, and I don’t always agree, but here I do. That said, the recipe does make a good number of muffins, and if you have some left over, all is not lost. I’ve eaten them after two or three days on the counter, and not unhappily. Just throw them in a toaster oven (or regular oven) to warm them and recrisp the edges.
Leftover Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from Amanda Soule and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
These muffins come together quickly, especially if you mix up the dry ingredients the night before. I once managed to make them at 7:30 am while wearing a wiggly 14-month-old in a sling. FIST BUMP! (Or, TERRORIST FIST JAB! Uggghhhhh.)
Also, for the record, I like these best with walnuts and bittersweet chocolate as my add-ins. I used a ¼ cup of each: that’s about 30 grams of walnuts, chopped, and 45 grams of Valrhona 64% Manjari chocolate discs, chopped.
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and add-ins.
In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the oatmeal to the egg, and mash with a fork to break up clumps. Add the milk and the butter, and stir or whisk to combine.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir briefly to just combine. Divide the batter evenly between the wells of the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. The muffins won’t brown much on top and might even look a little anemic, but that’s okay. Serve warm, ideally.
Note: These muffins are best when they’re fresh from the oven, or on the day that they’re made.
Yield: 12 smallish muffins