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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.

Oatmeal get-up-and-go muffins

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Place the oats in a large bowl and pour over the buttermilk. Stir gently with a spoon to cover the oats, then leave to sit for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 10 cups of a muffin pan.

Stir the egg and brown sugar into the oat mixture until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir until just barely mixed. Add the applesauce (and any add-ins*) and stir until just combined. Don’t stir too hard or too long or the muffins will be tough.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups (I use a large cookie scoop). Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields 10 – 11 muffins

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