oatmeal chocolate chip muffins

Sorry about the dead zone that was March and half of April. Between finals, spring break, and medical issues, I wasn't doing much (read: any) cooking or baking. I'm back today with some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins.

These muffins were inspired by one of my favorite cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip. It's hard being an oatmeal chocolate chip fan. The fake-outs are constant. "Oh, what is this oatmeal cookie? It has dark spots…oh dammit not raisins!" Said by me. Often. I really don't like raisins. I never have been able to overcome my childhood aversion, and trust me, I've tried.

 

They were also inspired by a desire to actually make a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I purchased that digital subscription. Clearly I was operating under delusions about my free time and motivation. CI recipe stories are exhausting. "I then tried 6543 different combinations…" I guess they're getting paid for it but as a home cook their "perfect" steps can be a bit much. Even if the results tend to be pretty damn awesome. The oatmeal muffins seemed doable, however. The "trick" of pan toasting the oats in butter wasn't really a hardship, and my food processor had been languishing unused for too long anyway.

There's something fun about altering CI's recipes, though, a bit of cheap delight in resisting authority. I didn't like the idea of plain oatmeal muffins, so I added mini-chocolate chips. I then had to add whole wheat flour to these, to add some justification for using these as my breakfast for the next week. I took out the pecans in the topping because, real talk, I didn't feel like chopping any. Oh, and I don't know if by milk they meant almond milk, but that's what I had. They did have this cool trick of folding with a whisk that I am probably going to use for other quick breads in the future, so you should totally do that.

hard to beat tea and a warm muffin
 
oatmeal chocolate chip muffins
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Jan/Feb
Oh yeah, one more thing: this supposedly makes 12 muffins. They encourage you to fill the muffin cups completely, but I just made 18 muffins instead.
 
for the topping:
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (1 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
 
for the muffins:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons melted
2 cups (6 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cups (9 1/3 ounces) brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
 
To make the topping, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter to the mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
 
For the muffins, prepare two muffin tins with 18 muffin liners. Pour a small amount of water in the unused cups (for heat conduction!)
 
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring frequently, until the oats start to smell like popcorn (they really will!) and turn golden brown, around 6 minutes. Transfer the oats to a food processor and process into a fine meal, pulsing for about 30 seconds. Add flour through baking soda to oats and pulse about 3 times or until it's all combined.
 
Stir the 6 tablespoons melted butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and eggs until smooth. Add the oat mixture, and use the whisk to gently fold until no streaks of flour remain. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside the batter for 20 minutes to thicken, and in the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
Divide the muffins between the prepared muffin cups. Evenly sprinkle the muffins with topping. Bake at 375 F for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the muffins halfway through baking. Remove from oven, and let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack. Or just eat immediately.

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