Rainy days and their perks
Today was a rainy, chilly Sunday in New York. I had drank too much coffee at a brunch with friends, was anxious about a potential work problem, and had a pile of things that needed to be done. Naturally, muffins needed to be made. To further justify it, I decided to make a “healthy” muffin – a baked good that wasn’t just white flour and sugar, so I could feel that I had a decent breakfast on my hands for the week ahead. My whole-wheat flour had gone bad, but I did have plenty of rolled oats. Serendipitously, I had exactly one cup of buttermilk left, along with some tart dried cherries that were not being used. A quick search led me to the recipe below, which needed not much tweaking at all.
To make it even healthier next time, I would probably substitute half of the butter with applesauce, and incorporate some (fresh) whole wheat flour. Nevertheless, I love this muffin because it’s not very sweet, making it an excellent companion to coffee or tea. The best way to eat it, if I do so humbly suggest, is split in two with some of your favorite jam. If it’s your style, this muffin toasted with a little bit of honey on top would also be a pretty nice way to start the day. Either way, it makes me appreciate fall and its moody weather, for providing excuses to bake, to procrastinate, to eat food that comforts.
Oatmeal Muffins with Dried Cherries
From Gourmet, 1995
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (or dried currants, or raisins, or any dried fruit of your choice)
In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and let stand 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400°F. and butter twelve 1/2-cup muffin tins. Add egg, sugar and butter to oat mixture, stirring until just combined. In another large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and add to oat mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in dried cherries. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Bake muffins in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.