In the annals of baking, there are three levels of errors. Level One errors are minor mistakes. A Level One error would be putting slightly too many chocolate chips in your chocolate chip cookies. Level Two errors are medium-sized flubs, like baking your cake in an 8” pan instead of a 9” one.
And then there are the Level Three errors. The mistakes that are so egregious, so horrifying, that you can only avert your eyes and hope that you didn’t really see them. The mistakes that you can’t believe someone would actually blog about, leaving a permanent online record.
These muffins were a Level 3 error.
It started so well. Oatmeal Breakfast muffins are a Dorie Greenspan recipe, which meant they were guaranteed to be delicious. I have never made a recipe by Dorie that wasn’t superb. I was baking them for my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Don who were arriving from Los Angeles on the red-eye flight.
The muffins were in their liners, the streusel about to be poured, when a small alarm went off in my mind. Something wasn’t quite right. Something was missing. I gazed at the naked little muffins, and they gazed blankly back at me.
And I realized that in my Oatmeal Breakfast muffins, I had forgotten to add … the oatmeal.
Now here’s where my luck started to change. The batter had made 16 muffins. The recipe calls for 1 cup of oatmeal, which is 16 tablespoons. So I poured one tablespoon of oatmeal into each muffin liner and lovingly stirred it in. Maybe not the most efficient way of combining ingredients but, hey, it worked.
If you are still reading, I can only assume it’s for my sparkling prose rather than my ability to teach you anything about baking. So you won’t even flinch when I tell you I substituted almonds for the walnuts, right?
Aunt Barbara and Uncle Don, I am very fond of you, and please don’t be offended by my serving you Level Three muffins. The fact that these still tasted so great is a testament to the quality of Dorie’s recipe, and the affection with which I baked them.
Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours)
For the topping:
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds (or walnuts)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the batter:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 16 muffin liners in muffin tin.
To make the topping, toss together the brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the batter, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil and buttermilk until well blended. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Remove 1/2 tsp of the mix and toss it with the raisins, just to coat. Set aside. Stir the oats into the bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened. Scatter the raisins over the batter and stir to blend. Scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle over the topping, tamping it down very lightly with your fingers so it sticks.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before eating.
Muffins can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Makes 16 muffins.