Nothing tastes better on a frosty autumn morning than warm-from-the-oven oat muffins. Once upon a time, home cooks made muffins using bleached flour from which most of the nutrition and fiber was missing. Today, more and more cooks are turning their attention to nutrition as well as taste, and oat muffins offer substantial amounts of both. Whether they are made with oat flour, oat bran, or rolled oats, these nutritional powerhouses offer cholesterol-lowering oat fiber and can entertain a host of other healthy ingredients.
The wise cook knows that oat muffins must be treated with a gentle hand, or they might become gummy, less-than-appetizing blimps. A bendable spoon or spatula is the best tool to use for mixing, and the ingredients need to be softly folded together rather than beaten. If the resulting batter isn’t sturdy enough to hold a spoon upright, it might need a bit more oat mixed in.
Other tricks of the oat muffin baker include bringing milk, buttermilk, eggs, and other dairy products to room temperature before beginning. In addition, greasing the top of the tin means that, when the muffin tops rise over the sides, the oat muffins will still be easy to remove. The inexperienced baker who tries to remove the muffins from the tin without allowing them to cool will discover they easily fall apart.
One of the best things about oat muffins is just how welcoming they are to other ingredients. There’s almost nothing a well-prepared oat muffin batter won’t play nicely with, from fruits to nuts. Most folks have nibbled a banana oat muffin laced with walnuts, but there’s no need to stop there.
Fresh raspberries or blueberries are one way to go; they add moisture to the batter and might require a little additional flour. Dried, golden raisins, cranberries, pineapples, or a combination lend flavor and a nice chewiness too. Apple is a natural partner, but many cooks don’t realize that rhubarb, peaches, and other softer fruits can lend their sweet hearts to the batter.
In addition to walnuts, a host of other nutty types can add a little crunch. Hazelnuts, pecans, and even pistachios bring it. Peanut butter adds fun as well as protein, and a cook who feels like indulging can toss in some mini peanut butter cups instead.
In fact, oat muffins are the perfect ground in which to plant a little shaved or chunked dark chocolate, which everyone knows is good for the soul. This goes especially well with muffins that also contain some dried fruit. Shredded coconut is another yummy addition to these sweeter muffins.