These hearty oat muffins will put you right in your comfort zone with the dark tones of espresso and floral highlights of cardamom.
This cooler weather is sending a very clear message to my brain.
Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. With a side of comfort.
It’s likely not all the temperature’s fault. I’m going through the NYC public high school application process with my son. If you don’t know about New York’s whacky way of doing this, I don’t want to bore you. But it’s similar to applying for college. Just four years earlier. It’s a lot of leg work going to all the tours and open houses and auditions and assessments and it is definitely stressful but there’s another way of looking at it, too.
Which is basically that this is a unique (if forced) opportunity to engage with my thirteen year old. Opportunities that are growing more and more limited. And even though he’s gotten very good very quickly at tossing off a laissez faire attitude, he is (for the most part) pretty interested in this process. He seems to understand that this is a choice that will shape the next four years of his life. And, this may be the biggest surprise of all, he and I are on the same page about 90% of the time. I know! Right???
So, there’s a bright side. But even when I’m on that side, my need for comfort comes a-calling. Nudging me with it’s pointy little elbows. Whispering soulfully, “Here. Have a muffin.”
But not just any muffin. A comforting muffin needs to be heavily textured. Dense. And deeply flavorful. A muffin where one would almost be enough. Almost.
So, I adapted this recipe for oat muffins from the basic muffin recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website. The first thing I knew I wanted to add was espresso which lead me to this recipe for DIY Espresso Powder from Bright Eyed Baker. I didn’t have any used grounds so I just followed her instructions using fresh grounds it worked great. At this dose, you don’t really taste the espresso. It adds tone, depth and a darkness to the experience but it’s not really a flavor.
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The flavor is of cardamom. I’m a fool for cardamom. I’ve been trying and trying to recreate this cardamom loaf we had at our favorite café in Amsterdam. It was ridiculously moist and, much to my frustration, I haven’t figured out their secret yet. So I was a little desperate to bake something successful with this wonderful spice.
Speaking of moist, these muffins are made with oats and whole wheat pastry flour so the wet ingredients need a little more time to incorporate than with all-purpose flour. Let the batter sit at least ten minutes before pouring them in the muffin tins and putting them in the oven. They’ll come out dry if you don’t. And dry is not comforting.
An interesting tidbit from the King Arthur web site is that dropping the temperature from 500 to 400 when you put the muffins in the oven is what creates those peaks. I never knew that! And, if you use AP flour they’ll peak even more than this oat version.
Now go grab a cup of tea, a fleece blanket and have a muffin.
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- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of espresso powder
- 10 cardamom pods de-seeded
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 2 large eggs
Crush cardamom seeds with a mortar and pestle. No need to go all the way to a powder, crushed bits are just fine.
Combine dry ingredients (everything from the oats to cardamom seeds) in a large mixing bowl. Stir well.
In a separate bowl, beat milk, butter and eggs together until light and fluffy.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir until just barely combined, don't over do it. Lumps are OK. Let sit for 10 minutes.
While resting batter, lightly grease a 12-count muffin tin.
Pour rested batter into greased muffin tin, filling about 2/3 of the way.
Place on middle rack in oven and instantly drop temperature to 400 degrees.
Bake for 10 to 20 minutes. Start checking for doneness with a toothpick at 10 minutes.