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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oatmeal Muffins

This is another new recipe for me; it was recently featured on an America's Test Kitchen episode (watch it here). Test cooks assure extra oatmeal flavor by making oat "flour" in a food processor (I would guess a good blender would do the trick, too). It's worth the effort to make the topping although prep time is increased; it adds a sweet crunch to the muffin. These are as good as the show promised they would be.




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Oatmeal Muffins


Source: America's Test Kitchen
Yield: 12-18 (ATK reports that the yield is 12 but my effort yielded 18)

Topping:

1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/3 c flour (I think you could use wheat flour here)
1/3 c pecans, chopped fine
1/3 c packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teas ground cinnamon
1/8 teas salt
4 T unsalted butter

Melt the butter in a medium, microwave-safe bowl or medium saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

Muffins:

2 T unsalted butter, plus 6 T butter
2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 c all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 1/2 teas salt
3/4 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 c milk
2 large eggs, beaten

Grease and flour the muffin tin. In a skillet, melt 2 T butter. Add the oats and cook over medium heat until the oats become golden and begin to smell similar to popping popcorn, about 7 minutes (give or take). Process the oats in a food processor until you have a fine meal, about 30-60 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients (in the case of muffins, sugar is included in wet ingredients). Pulse until combined.

In a large bowl melt the 6 T butter in the microwave. Add sugar, mixing until smooth. Whisk in the eggs and milk. When liquids are smooth add the oat mixture. To reduce lumpiness ATK suggests the following, " 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." Allow the mixture to sit for 20 minutes to thicken. In the meantime, prepare the oven by placing the rack in the middle position and preheating to 375F.

Fill the muffin cups, dividing the batter evenly using a large spoon or an ice cream scoop (my favored method for muffins for over 30 years). Use about 1/2 c batter per cup which will fill the cups to the rim. (This may be where I gained extra batter; I filled to about 1/4 inch below the rim.) Sprinkle the topping on the muffins (ATK indicates that 2 T is sufficient; I couldn't fit that much on each muffin). Bake for 18-25 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. For even cooking turn the muffin tin around halfway through the baking period. If you have extra muffins, place tins side by side on the rack, if they will fit.

Muffins should cool in the tin for 10 minutes; then you may remove them and place on the rack for further cooling, if desired. Eat them warm or cool. These are not bad reheated in a microwave for a short time--don't nuke them, though.

Note:  Since these are cooked in small cups as opposed to a loaf or cake pan, the only adjustment I made for elevation was to measure the baking powder and soda scantly. For the majority of cooks, I advise following the recipe as directed.

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