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Oatmeal get-up-and-go muffins

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The Runaway Spoon

(Read caption) These energy-boosting muffins are perfect for breakfast. They aren't excessively sweet and pre-soaking the oats in buttermilk keeps them light and tender.

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When the reality of the new school year and the end of summer hit, having a quick, portable breakfast on hand can be a serious boon. And these muffins fit the bill. I often find muffins labeled “healthy” to be leaden gut bombs, but these are light and tender, thanks to the magic of buttermilk. Oats provide a nice, sustained energy level and soaking them in the buttermilk prevents that chewy, gritty texture you sometimes find in baked goods with oatmeal. These are not excessively sweet muffins, so no sugar crash, and the applesauce keeps the flavor up and the fat content down.

But the real beauty of these muffins is their versatility. While delicious straight up, the recipe below is really the blueprint for your own creativity. When you stir in the applesauce, add your favorite dried fruit and/or nut combo, and any spice that tickles your fancy.

Try 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Or make that 1/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Or raisins and cinnamon. Blueberries and nutmeg. Pecans and apple pie spice. I often scoop half a batch of plain batter to the tin, then add my additions to the second half.

These muffins are delicious fresh, but will last for three days in an airtight container. When they are completely cooled, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and pop into the freezer in a zipper bag. Just pull one out the night before and you are ready to go.

And one note on the yield. I have been fiddling with this recipe for years, and I simply lack the mathematical skills to make it an even dozen. If the anomaly truly bothers you, divide the batter between all 12 cups and you’ll get smaller muffins.

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