Apple Oatmeal Muffins

It’s fall, the weather is cooling (somewhere) and we’re diving into the season’s familiar flavors. Lucky for us, that includes crisp, sweet tart apples. In a world where most produce is available year round, there’s still something about tasting something in season that is particularly satisfying. Apples, particularly ubiquitous and endlessly available, are best when freshly picked and right out of the orchard.

Our weekly produce deliveries now include an assortment of apples and we couldn’t be happier to include them in our rotation. They typically show up on our brunch plates, sautéed in butter and sweetened with maple before joining Jason’s crazy delicious multigrain pancakes. A recent batch of Granny Smith apples ended up in these tasty muffins where they add both sweetness and moisture. The addition of leftover cooked steel cut oats further helps keep the muffins from drying out. Both apple and cooked oats reduce the need for moisturizing fats. For those of us who pay attention to such things, the reduced fat and added fiber mean these become everyday muffins, perfect for breakfast with a little yogurt or as a snack whenever our hunger begs for a quick fix.

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Apple Oatmeal Muffins

1 large granny smith apple, grated
2 cups leftover oatmeal (preferably cooked with diced apple)
2 eggs
½ cup melted butter (minus one tablespoon for topping)
½ cup kefir
⅔ cup plus brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1½ tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

6 tbsp oats
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the grated apple, leftover oatmeal, eggs, melted butter, kefir and brown sugar until smooth and there are no clumps of oatmeal. Add the salt and whisk a few more times.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Be careful not to over mix.

In a small bowl, mix together the rolled oats, brown sugar, and melted butter for the topping, set aside.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. These will be big muffins so don’t worry if the muffin tins seem to be over filled. Sprinkle the muffins with rolled oat topping and place on the middle rack of the oven, bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you’re worried about the muffin batter overflowing, place a sheet pan under the muffin tin.

Cool the muffins in the pan on a rack for a few minutes then remove from pan.

Steel Cut Oatmeal – In a Flash

Walnuts, bananas, strawberries, and milk cover the bowl of oatmeal.

We’ll never understand how anyone older than 8 years old would want to eat, let alone like, those packets of sugary instant oats. Maple and Brown Sugar (really, twice the amount of sugar), Apple and Cinnamon (dehydrated apples—yuck!), Peaches and Cream (makes me want to hurl). Sure they’re quick. Sure they’re easy. But being quick and easy is just a cop out. They are loaded with sugars, they contain very little fiber, and the ones that claim to have fruit in them are usually the ones no one wants to eat anyway. Why not do just a little bit of prep so that you can enjoy some relatively quick, easy, nutritious, and might we add, delicious steel cut oats?

Right now you’re saying: “I don’t have an hour to cook and stir. I’m in a hurry.” Nonsense! With just a little preparation the night before, steel cut oats can be ready and on the table before you decide which packet of sugar-laden oat powder you want to feed your children, or yourself, in the morning.

Quick Steel Cut Oatmeal
Serves 2

2 cups water
pinch of salt
½ cup of Steel Cut Oats

The night before, boil water in a sauce pan. Add the salt and steel cut oats. Turn the heat off and place the lid on top. Let stand overnight. The next morning, turn the heat back on to low medium and in less than 5 minutes the oatmeal is done.

Now for the fun part – the toppings and additions: diced up fresh fruit such as pear, apple or banana (we even love to add pomegranate seeds when in season), dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.), toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.), spices of your choice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc.), and warmed milk (we like whole milk as a rule). If you need to sweeten your oats, drizzle a little honey at the very end or, if you have it, REAL maple syrup, agave nectar, or even a sprinkle of brown sugar.

There are no good excuses for relying on those tasteless, artificial, nutritionally worthless envelopes. We’re confident you’ll agree that steel cut oats beat the instant stuff any day.