These muffins came about on a whim one day as I was trying to liberate some refrigerator space that had been taken hostage by an almost-finished pot of leftover porridge. With their anemic- looking top and generally homely aura, they’re not the most photogenic muffin I’ve made, but that’s part of their charm: their quiet, unassuming, barely-sweetened presence makes them perfect for a breakfast treat that still feels virtuous, or you can dress them up with a smear of honey butter and/or jam for something a bit more special. I prefer making them without the optional sugar sprinkling and serving with jam.
As is the case with many things I post on this site, this recipe is pretty customizable. Try different sugars or flours (or even use a small amount of nut meal in place of the flour), swap the buttermilk with milk (you won’t have to change anything about the leavening in this case- I used buttermilk here for its flavor, not the acid), use plain butter instead of browned butter, or sub out the raisins and almonds for different add-ins. I’ve made them with ground hazelnuts and chopped dark chocolate for a more decadent treat, to great effect.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling- optional)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup leftover cooked oatmeal (this porridge is fantastic here)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons browned butter*, melted
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
Honey butter or jam,for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12 muffin tin and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the almonds and raisins and stir until combined.
3. In another bowl, stir together the cooked oats, buttermilk, egg, browned butter, and orange zest until all the chunks of oatmeal are broken up and the mixture is even.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined. Divide among the buttered muffin tins and sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes almost clean (moist crumbs are ok), then let cool for at least ten minutes before serving.
*To make browned butter, melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. It’ll foam, then you’ll see the milk solids drop to the bottom of the pot and start to turn from honey-gold to golden brown. Once they’re the color of a deeply copper penny and the butter smells quite nutty, remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl to cool. Keep a close eye- it can quickly go from perfectly browned to burned.