It’s dull, cool and rainy outside. Geese fly by the balcony intermittently, their honking sounding forlorn, although for all I know they’re having a great a time. (Aside: will I ever get used to birds flying past at eye level? And will this ever happen when I’m out there with my camera?)
Inside, though, is another story. All is warm and cozy, the sweet and spice-perfumed scent of baking in the air. Halloween is tomorrow, so it only seemed fitting to bake with pumpkin this morning.
I made my first batch of these pumpkin muffins a few weeks ago, but still wanted to play with the recipe before presenting it to you. This kind of tinkering is one of my favourite ways to start a weekend morning. If I were making muffins on a weekday when work deadlines call me into the office, I’d use a tried and true recipe. But these no-particular-things-to-do days give me the latitude to putter and create. (I was going to call days like this “lazy,” but truth be told, there are very few lazy days for me. Yes, I’m one of those people, always doing something or other.)
The oats mentioned in the title of this recipe aren’t the large flake oats you were likely expecting. Instead, I tried a new ingredient today: oat flour. I would normally have used a cup of whole wheat flour in this recipe, but today I replaced half with oat flour, for flavour and nutrition. I also used oat bran, which I’ve been putting in my Oat Bran Banana Muffins for years. I found the muffins more crumbly in texture than usual, but they were still moist.
Another new muffin ingredient is the addition of molasses to add a different hit of sweetness. Although I used only one tablespoon, the molasses flavour still comes through. In the note-to-self department, I’ll use either fancy or cooking molasses instead of the more, ahem, powerful blackstrap that I added today, as either would be a better choice for baking (for the difference, just click on each type shown here).
And one more thing before we get to that recipe …. In recent years I’ve been flirting with more la-di-da dried fruit, like cranberries and sour cherries, instead of the raisins that were in practically everything when I was a kid. Lately though, I’ve found myself revisiting the humble raisin. I’m finding they add not just sweet chewiness, but a nostalgic hug to my recipes.
Pumpkin Oat Muffins
© Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life.com 2016
These muffins are a comforting as a warm hug on a dreary, cool morning. If you don’t have oat flour, not to worry: just replace it with an equal amount of whole wheat flour. Also, I used a boxed pumpkin purée that’s looser in texture than canned; it’s closer to the texture of the purée I sometimes make myself (you know, starting with an actual pumpkin). If I were using canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling!), I’d use the lesser amount indicated and the muffins would be a bit denser.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 ℉. Place large paper liners in a muffin tin.
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1 tbsp fancy or cooking molasses
- 1/2 or 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, depending on type (see headnote)
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
Place the flours, bran, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin spice in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
In a larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (yes, this includes the sugar. I know, it’s dry. But when you add it to liquid it dissolves, so it’s wet. This is how baking works, so don’t blame me!).
With a spatula, stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Use your fingers to separate the raisins if they’re stuck together, and tumble them into the batter. Stir until they’re evenly distributed.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them from the tray and allow them to continue to cool on the rack. You can eat these hot, warm or cold — it’s up to you!
I like to freeze half the batch and warm them in the microwave on a day when I need a touch of comfort at breakfast time.