Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

My love of oatmeal extends back to my childhood memories of cold winter mornings and a warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast on the once-in-a-while occasion that my mom cooked breakfast before taking us to school - as opposed to cold cereal or Pop Tarts for a quick breakfast.  It always felt like a special morning when we got a hot breakfast, and I looked forward to those mornings, hurrying out of bed where my room was too chilly and sitting down in the warm kitchen to a bowl of hot oats with milk, raisins and brown sugar.

Even now, it's what I eat for breakfast every single day at work, except now I eat my oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder and cinnamon to sweeten it, even though I would by far prefer a big spoonful of dark brown sugar.

You would think that I would get my fill of oatmeal during the week, but even so, I sometimes still get a craving for it on the weekends, too.  It tastes different somehow on a Saturday or Sunday, cooked on the stove instead of in a microwave, the flavors deepen, the raisins get plump and juicy, and the oats take on a creamy texture.  The sight of cold milk poured over steaming hot oatmeal flecked with cinnamon and thick with plumped up raisins makes me happy.

As I thought of these muffins that I wanted to make, I wanted them to truly be oatmeal muffins, not just oat muffins.  What I mean is these muffins don't just have a handful of raw oats stirred into the batter before baking, but cooked oatmeal, thick and creamy and delicious.  If you skip the step of cooking the oatmeal first, I think you'll be making a mistake.  The cooked oatmeal lended so much tenderness to the baked muffins, and served warm they will melt in your mouth.

Your favorite jam is optional, but delightful.

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 ¾ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coarse Turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium saucepan, combine the oats, raisins, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in the milk.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring often, then cook the oatmeal for 2-3 minutes until the raisins are plump and the oats have begun to thicken.  Spread the oatmeal out onto a plate and let cool for 10 minutes.

Scrape the oatmeal into a bowl and whisk in the eggs, vanilla and oil.  In a separate bowl, combine the flours and baking soda; sprinkle over the oat mixture and stir just until moistened.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them to the top then sprinkle the batter with the Turbinado sugar.  Bake for 17-20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then serve warm with honey or your favorite jam.

Yields 12 muffins.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen