Christmas was beautiful this year, if a bit too mild for my northern tastes. We hosted the extended family in our new place, which was lovely because we finally have some space for the first time ever. There were no lineups for the bathroom, nor any suitcases strewing the dining room floor. I felt more relaxed, even to the point of enjoying the chaos.
My fabulous brother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to Chapters-Indigo, which anyone who knows me would realize is pretty much the best gift in the universe for me. I quivered with excitement all the way to Barrie, where we stopped at Chapters on our way north to my parents’ house on New Year’s Eve. Jason patiently hung out in the kids’ section while I zoomed in on the cookbook aisle, determined to spend my gift certificate in just the right way.
Talk about stressful! There are so many fabulous and gorgeous cookbooks out there that it’s hard to narrow down the options. Initially I wanted vegetarian, but didn’t see anything that jumped out. If you have any suggestions for a great one, let me know! I walked out with something equally great, however, and am totally thrilled by it – the new Food52 “Baking” book. The photos are stunning and the recipes are perfect; they fit my baking style, preferred ingredients, nothing too finicky, lots of fruit and substance.
Obviously, I’ve already put it to work – and I’ll go so far as to say that I’ve discovered the perfect breakfast muffin! I made a batch of three dozen last night, as part of my resolution to be better organized with early morning breakfasts and school lunches, and a large number have already disappeared.
These oatmeal-cherry muffins are made entirely of oats, with a bit of whole-wheat flour. They taste healthy, but they have the slight sweetness and moisture of a more decadent treat. Slathered with almond-cashew butter, they paired wonderfully with my morning latte after a very rough night. (Thanks to the baby who doesn’t want to get back on post-holiday schedule.)
Cranberry, Oatmeal and Flaxseed Muffins
5 cups rolled oats
2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal (I used shredded coconut)
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk (I used a yogurt-milk blend)
1 cup neutral oil, such as coconut oil or vegetable oil
¾ cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (or sour cherries)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two standard-sized muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, ground flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and water and mix until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups, filling each to the top.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let cool in the pans for 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.