In case you don't know, one of my great passions in life is muffins. Yes, muffins. I don't know what that says about me, but I do have a genuine love of just about every kind I've put in my mouth. Except maybe those sickly-sweet gluey white-flour things with unidentifiable blue specks that you get from convenience stores. Those aren't muffins.
What I'm talking about is the real thing: whole wheat or, preferably, spelt flour muffins, muffins that have flavor and body. The texture must be moist, butter helps, and when you bite in you should have a sensation of warmth, not-too-crumby texture, and utter bliss.
So today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks: Orange Oat Bran Muffins from Mad About Muffins by Dot Vartan. I was thrilled at how well these turned out, despite my improvisations!
So I began by reading my recipe very thoroughly (ha!), decided that I had everything (almost) on hand, and then dove right in! I preheated my oven and began chopping figs. We usually don't have figs in the pantry, but they were on sale so Mom bought them on a whim, what good fortune that I should come across this recipe days later!
I didn't want to use up all of the figs, so I put in some chopped dates as well (we buy those in bulk, so we always have several cups on hand). Once I finished painstakingly slicing the sticky little things, I plopped them in a bowl with some oats and poured orange juice over them, then let them soak.
I used farm-fresh eggs from my Grandma's chickens (yes, these eggs are green):
Since I didn't have oat bran (yeah, I read the recipe very carefully), I used wheat bran and mixed it with soft red wheat pastry flour, powdered coffee creamer (I was out of powdered milk too), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Into the soaked oat mixture, I added the brown sugar, corn oil, eggs, and the zest of one orange. Oh my gosh, if anything will force you to buy an orange zester it would probably be having to zest an orange on the minuscule section of my box grater!
Next I added the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirred it up a little, just until combined, and began scooping it into a greased muffin tin with a cookie scoop. This is a little trick I learned from Alton Brown, and it works marvelously!
Then I slipped them in the oven.
Here's what the little darlings look like with ten minutes left:
And here we go, warm and buttery on my plate. Sheer Delish-iosity.
Perhaps you would like to try making these yourself! Here's the recipe:
Orange Oat Bran Muffins
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped figs (or dates, raisins would probably works as well)
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups uncooked oat (or wheat) bran
1 cup sifted all-purpose (or whole-wheat, or a little more than a cup for spelt) flour
1/2 cup powdered milk (or powdered coffee creamer)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sat
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange zest (rind or peel)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, soak the oats and figs in the orange juice for 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the oat bran, flour, powdered milk, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Into the soaked oat mixture, add the brown sugar, corn oil, eggs, and orange zest. Stir until well blended.
Add the flour mixture. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fill greased muffin tins. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned. Makes 14 muffins (weird, I know).