I love a good bowl of oatmeal in the winter, but sometimes life necessitates grabbing breakfast on your way out the door. Muffins are serviceable for dashboard dining, but they usually don't have a lot to offer nutritionally.
These muffins are not the type that could be mistaken for cake if you ate them with your eyes closed. They are hearty, lightly sweetened whole meal muffins, perfect for sustaining you through outdoor winter pursuits; sort of like carrying a bowl of oatmeal in your pocket. If you're not on the run, however, they're wonderful toasted with a smear of maple butter and a big mug of tea.
I started with a recipe from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham, and embellished a bit from there. While her recipe calls for rolled oats soaked overnight in buttermilk, I figured if I was going to soak anything I might as well add steel-cut oats, as they lend a stronger oat flavor and a rugged chewy texture I like. I also added a hefty dose of cinnamon and a sprinkling of raisins. Finally, being a Vermonter, I had to figure maple syrup in there somewhere. The maple butter is an easily made special flourish that truly brings out the best in these muffins.
Irish Oatmeal Muffins with Maple Butter
(recipe adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham)
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
Makes 11 - 12 large muffins
Combine buttermilk and oats in a large bowl. Add raisins. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
If making maple butter, place a stick of butter out at room temperature to soften overnight.
In the morning, grease a muffin pan and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat eggs in a small bowl; add brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Add egg/ sugar mixture to oat mixture and stir well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and oil and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Fill muffin cups almost to the top for large muffins.
Bake 15 - 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm with maple butter.
*If you don't already have an oven thermometer, I strongly encourage you to buy one. The first time I used mine I discovered the oven was fifty degrees too high! Now I take that it into account and set the temperature fifty degrees lower to compensate.
*Do not firmly pack brown sugar unless you desire a sweeter muffin.
8 tablespoons butter, well-softened
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
Whisk butter in a small bowl. Drizzle syrup in while whisking until it is completely incorporated. Pack into a small ramekin and serve with warm muffins.