This is a merging of two recipes in my old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961): “Cranberry-Orange Muffins” (p. 88) and “Oatmeal Muffins” (p. 90). The recipes are so similar in amounts of ingredients, that it didn’t take much to combine them. The only big decision I had to make was whether to use white or brown sugar, so I compromised and used half of each. Oatmeal takes the place of half the flour in the cranberry muffins, a formula you can use to add oatmeal to a variety of muffin recipes.
Soaking oats in almond milk
Cranberries and walnuts
Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Preheat oven to 400°; line a muffin pan with paper liners or butter the cups.
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk, even buttermilk)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (thawed, if frozen)
- 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- orange zest from one large orange
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Mix oats and milk; let soak for about 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Add cranberries and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Don’t worry about uniformity.
- Cream butter, sugars, and egg in the bowl of a mixer until creamy. Mix in orange zest.
- Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and oat/milk mixture. Carefully mix on low speed until combined.
- Stir in cranberry/walnut mixture.
- Fill muffin cups at least 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove muffins to rack to cool.
These will satisfy my recent desire for cookies that I shouldn’t eat. One scone for breakfast will do nicely, and isn’t a scone really a breakfast cookie, anyway? Rather than adding oatmeal to a scone recipe I already have, I went searching for one that I could modify and found these candidates:
Annie’s Eats: Oatmeal Raisin Scones
Three Many Cooks: Oatmeal-Cinnamon-Raisin Scones
Martha Stewart: Raisin and Oat Scones
What do you do when you have multiple recipes to take from? I make a table in a word processing document, like this:
The table lets me compare ingredients to see what items are common and where there are interesting differences. For example, two of these use eggs and two use buttermilk—not the same two for both. One uses the sour cream that I intend to use, and two of them use a whole stick of butter, something else that appeals to me. I like the idea of the brown sugar in Martha Stewart’s recipe, but I’m leaning toward using all whole wheat flour, like in Annie’s recipe. You’ll notice that I leave out the typical soda, salt, etc., and just note that at the bottom so I won’t forget to add it.
When I’m ready to bake, I circle the ingredients I intend to use and write in all the leavening/seasoning amounts. Here are today’s results:
Wet and dry ingredients
Finished thick dough
Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin Scones
Preheat oven to 400°; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup whole grain rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 stick butter, melted
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. I like to mix the raisins in with the dry ingredients to coat them and keep them separate in the final dough.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the sour cream and egg until fluffy. Whisk in the melted butter, whisking constantly so the egg doesn’t cook.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a large wooden spoon. The dough is stiff, but with all the butter, it holds together well.
- Form into 8 balls of about 1/3 cup each—Martha Stewart was right about that measurement. Place the balls on the baking sheet and slightly flatten. They will still rise in the baking to a round shape. I think the dough could stand up to forming into a large circle and cutting into traditional triangle shapes, but I like the big round rough shape of these.
- Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Wrap tightly when cool. I wrap mine individually for freezing, and then thaw one per day.
The house is full of the smells of cinnamon and raisins, so it will be hard to wait for breakfast.
Yet another use for using up that buttermilk you bought for the biscuits. Plus, I just felt like making a loaf of bread. It happened to be on a day when I made another one of those beer-can chickens on the grill—a new family favorite—but there was enough to eat with the white bean stew the next day, too. Now, generally, I don’t like to pile on the starches in a meal, so for me, both bread and beans is a little much, but my husband can handle it, while I preferred to eat a slice smeared with butter for lunch.
This is a soft and kind of sweet bread, because of both the oatmeal and honey, even though the small amount of oatmeal is barely visible. I think the buttermilk is the hidden star, though.
Buttermilk Bread with Oatmeal and Honey
I made the bread in a stand mixer, but you could knead by hand.
1 pkg (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup whole buttermilk
1/2 cup whole grain rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
about 3 cups bread flour, more as needed to achieve a soft but not sticky dough
- In a small dish, combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using a dough hook, combine the buttermilk, oats, butter, and honey.
- Beat in salt, baking soda, 2 cups of the flour, and the yeast mixture.
- Beat in as much of the 3rd cup of flour as needed to achieve a soft, pliable dough. Do not add so much that the dough becomes stiff and dry. When the dough comes together, continue kneading at a higher speed for 5-10 minutes, until the dough holds together around the dough hook.
- Remove the dough, form into a tight ball, and add about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the bowl. Then turn the dough in the bowl until covered with oil; cover the bowl with a pastry cloth or towel, and set in a warm place to rise. It took a full 1 1/2 hours for mine to double in size.
- I punched down the dough and let it rise a second time in the bowl for about 30 minutes, then I punched it down again and shaped it into a loaf, placing it into a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan: Shape the dough into a rectangle of 9″ x 15″, then fold over each short end to the middle and roll to a loaf shape. Place seam side down in the baking pan. Let rise for another 30 minutes, until it reaches the top of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350° during the last rise. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, and then check for a browned crust, and a kind of hollow feeling when tapped. I don’t trust the tapping on loaves in a baking pan. Mine had to bake for closer to 45 minutes to get the desired crust color.
I’ve been eating a good muesli product, but there were a few seeds in it that I didn’t like, so I decided to make my own. Muesli is pretty much like granola, but without the fat and sugar used to bind it together into crunchy chunks. I find it hard to find a tasty cereal product that doesn’t have added sugar, but I enjoy muesli soaked in a little almond milk. The dried fruit has plenty of sugar in it for me, and I like that muesli requires some work in the chewing. I think that’s why it’s satisfying, because you don’t just slurp it down like the cereals that get soggy.
Muesli is generally raw food, but you can toast the grains and nuts first for a little added flavor, and you can cook it as you would any whole grain cereal. If there is a perfect ratio of elements in muesli, I don’t know what it is; I put mine together based on how it looked, which came out to about half grain flakes and half fruit, nuts and seeds. For seasoning, I used some cinnamon and a little salt.
Preheat oven to 375°
1 lb Bob’s Red Mill® Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (or your favorite oats or a combination of grain flakes)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted
1 cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup unsweetened, dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped figs or dates (I used figs)
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Mix oats and cinnamon, and salt, if using. Spread on baking sheet and toast until you can smell the cinnamon, about 5-7 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Remove to large mixing bowl.
- Add seeds, nuts, and fruit to warm oats and stir to combine. Cool completely before placing in container with tight lid.
For breakfast, I eat about 1/4 cup soaked in almond milk for about 20 minutes to soften the oats a little. Alternatively, you can add heated milk or you can cook it in milk.