My eyes pry themselves open for no reason at all. My ears perk up to the soft noises of the house and the rain pattering on the window panes. I lie in the stillness, wondering if I can will myself back to sleep, knowing the futility all the while.
I wriggle out of the covers and use the light on my alarm clock to locate some socks. Grabbing my laptop and the baby monitor, I tiptoe down to the kitchen.
It's a muffin morning.
The truth is that I invent excuses to make these muffins as often as possible, and it comes as no surprise to me that one of the handful of words my baby says is "mu-umm".
These are the best.
I'm having a love affair with oats right now, and these play right into that. Couple that with my deep and abiding love for buttermilk in baked goods, and oh, boy, are we in business. Not too sweet, a nice heartiness and a tender crumb. They really need no embellishment, but we all know that I need no excuse to embellish. Filled with a spoonful of apple butter, they go from amazing to sublime!
I can almost guarantee you'll be making up reasons to have more muffin mornings, too.
A note before we begin: Resist the temptation to swap whole wheat flour for the white flour in this recipe. Whole wheat flour results in a terribly crumbly muffin, and nobody wants that.
Best Ever Oatmeal Muffins
from Simple Bites
2 c. rolled oats
2 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine oats and buttermilk and let stand one hour.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon) and set aside. Preheat oven to 375º.
To oats, add brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Stir in dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing until just blended -- batter will be stiff and a bit lumpy.
For regular muffins, fill muffin cups 1/3 full, then drop a spoonful of apple butter in the center (I try to make a little well for it so it stays in the middle). Top with enough batter to fill muffin cups 2/3 full, doing your best to seal in the apple butter.
For big muffins, fill muffin cups 3/4 full (about 1/4 c.), drop in a spoonful of apple butter in the center. Top with another 1/4 c. of batter -- it will be mounded over the top of the muffin cup.
If desired, sprinkle tops with extra rolled oats. (For pretty!)
For regular muffins, bake10 to 12 minutes; for big muffins, bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when gently touched.
Let cool in tins.