Fall is definitely not in the air over here in central California, but that isn't keeping me from enjoying the best-tasting time of the year. That's right, pumpkin season, also known as, Autumn. The whole idea of Autumn when it's 97 degrees outside just doesn't make sense. Soup, crunchy leaves, yoga pants (and probably lots of mud) are all things I associate with Autumn, but soup has yet to even cross my mind and California needs lots of rain before I'll get to experience the joys of a toddler in mud. So I was thinking, how can I bring a little Autumn into my life?
Muffins! obviously. Pumpkin oatmeal muffins.
I couldn't decide if I wanted mini or regular size muffins, so I made both. If you can't decide, I can make your decision a little harder- both come out fluffy, moist and bursting with Fall. The mini size are great for Octavian and the regular size are perfect for my husband. Everyone wins.
Aside from the pumpkin requirement, I wanted to bake something healthy enough to give Octavian. While I knew my meat-loving child would probably reject them either way, I'm always hopeful. Whole wheat flour, oats, and reduced sugar make these beauties the perfect breakfast or snack-time treat. Octavian was even happy to chow down on the minis after I smeared a thick layer of butter on top.
While I'm on the topic of butter, let me just say, my kid loves butter. I wish there was a mystery as to who showed him the beauty of butter, but spend 5 minutes with me and you'll know I'm the guilty parent. Yep, he loves his butter just like his Mama. You guys, I do. I really do. And yes, I have my own mother to thank for that. In fact, thanks to my own Mama, or Mimi, as Octavian knows her, butter was one of his first words.
While my mom was staying with us after my stroke (no, butter was not the cause), she was in the kitchen cooking Octavian some eggs. In hopes of keeping Octavian entertained while he waited not-so-patiently for his breakfast, she explained each and every step of the egg-making process.
blah blah blah... "and of course you need some butter, butter, butter..."
Seconds later, Octavian chimes in, "butta, butta, butta".
Now, whenever Octavian sees or wants butter, it is always, "butta, butta, butta".
These muffins are great with or without butter. I promise! They have just the right amount of sweetness (in my opinion) where you can still appreciate the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Best part- they will not only fill your mouth with all the flavors of Autumn, but also your house.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 12-15 minutes / Total Time: 30 minutes (approx.)
Total Yield: 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats + 3 tablespoons for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree – canned or homemade
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners or spray your muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. You can also make mini muffins. As with the standard muffin tin, be sure to use mini paper liners or spray the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking until ingredients are incorporated. No need to over-mix.
Divide batter between the 12 standard size muffin cups or 24 small muffin cups. Finally, evenly sprinkle on top the set-aside 3 tablespoons of oats between each muffin.
Bake for about 15 minutes (approximately 12 minutes if you are baking mini muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Adapted from this recipe.