But not just any old muffin, like the tragically overdone blueberry or banana nut. While they are overdone for a reason (they taste good), there’s nothing particularly special about something that can be found at Starbucks or the coffee shop on the corner that strives to be the anti-Starbucks.
I half-considered whipping up Nancy Silverton’s bran muffins, because I love and adore her, but bran muffins aren’t necessarily exciting either. Even if they are Nancy Silverton bran muffins and contain enough fiber to keep one regular for a year.
No, these muffins had to be something really special -- the type of muffin that would adequately express my excitement for a dear friend who recently moved into a new apartment, started a new job and gotten engaged. The humble baked good seemed wildly appropriate for these changes in her life – a symbol of domesticity, and a portable breakfast for her to take with her to work on days when a cup of coffee is not quite enough. She could freeze them if she wished, or share them with her fiancé, or eat them all within a two-day period as a reward for finishing unpacking. Or not finishing unpacking.
I wouldn’t judge her.
But they had to be good enough to do all those things, and also wholesome enough so as not to be confused with cake or dessert. I wouldn’t want to give the future blushing bride a muffin top. I’m not that kind of friend.
So, after much thought – a whole day of thought, to be exact – I came back to my initial impulse to make strawberry buttermilk oatmeal muffins. It seemed right. It felt right. And when I sampled two to be absolutely positively undeniably sure that they were absolutely positively undeniably okay to give to her, they tasted right.
I hope she agrees.
Strawberry Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, finely chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of oatmeal to sprinkle over the top
Combine oatmeal and buttermilk in mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove oatmeal/buttermilk mixture from refrigerator, and line a standard muffin tin with aluminum muffin liners.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in separate bowl. Whisk together until light in texture.
Add egg to the oatmeal and buttermilk mixture and whip together until batter develops some volume. Stir in the vanilla, oil and sugar. Add the flour mixture, and fold in until just incorporated. Fold in the strawberries.
Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin tins. Top with a sprinkle of oatmeal and bake in the oven for approximately 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool 10 minutes before serving.