Apricot Oatmeal

Well, I’m a day late and a dollar short this week. I managed to get the muffins baked last night, but then my 15 month old woke up screaming, his sleep totally disrupted thanks to a rotten early-spring cold, and by the time I got him settled again it was late.

So!

I also cheated on this recipe and thus probably totally missed the point. Dried apricots are kind of pricey if you buy them at the grocery store, and I kept forgetting to go to the Bulk Barn for the tiny quantity I needed. Take my review with a grain of salt.

The recipe

Mix together in large bowl

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Blend in small bowl

2/3 cup milk

1 4.5oz jar of apricot puree (Baby food. All the ones I could find had sugar added.)

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

1 tsp. vanilla

Add wet to dry

Fold in

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/3 cup raisins (I just used all raisins, although I did use golden raisins, which I have to say I prefer.)

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Makes – and I couldn’t make this stuff up – 13 and a half muffins.

The process

Super-easy because I cheated and didn’t chop a half-cup of apricots, ha ha. Although someone told me that putting a little oil or non-stick spray on your knife before chopping dried fruit will make the whole process a little faster.

Also, I completely forgot the milk and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have batter so much as I had crumble. I threw the milk in at the last minute and it was fine.

The result

These are quite a pretty colour, thanks to the golden raisins and the apricot puree. The texture is really pleasant; it just has a good mouth-feel. So it’s disappointing that the actual taste is unremarkable. Like many of the recipes in this book, they are very bland. I think maybe palates just used to be less adventurous, and so some dried fruit plus a little vanilla was plenty.

I would try these again, but they’d need some seasoning help. If any of you decide to give them a try, please leave your changes or recommendations in the comments.

Next week

Carrot Nut (mmm…). You’ll need a cup of chopped walnuts and a cup of grated carrot OR a cup of peeled fresh cherries OR a cup of dried cherries.

Dorothy, with the variations! Holy smokes. For the record, I’ll be making carrot-walnut. I love carrot muffins.

 

 

Oatmeal

Holy smokes, after last week’s inedible Marmalade Muffin debacle I was pretty jumpy about even attempting to bake muffins again. (Did anyone actually attempt those grapefruit horrors? I’m curious).

Anyhoo, recipe # 27, “Oatmeal”, looked pretty safe. And I’m coming off a four-day weekend, so I felt brave enough to try baking these with all three of my kids helping out. This was the 15 month old’s first experience with helping mama bake; mostly he pointed at stuff and yelled, and tried to stick his fingers in the mixer while it was running. But he figured out pretty quickly that measuring spoons are for dumping into bowls and batter is for tasting, and I think he had fun.

Oatmeal

Mix together and let stand for 20 minutes

1 cup boiling water

1 cup oatmeal (Note: Not the quick-cooking stuff; the oats labelled ‘best for baking’.)

In large bowl, cream together

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (Note: Dorothy adds ‘or less’ here, so I used scant cups.)

1/2 cup butter

Beat well and then add to butter & sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Sift into bowl

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Mix well and add

3/4 cup dates, cut fine OR 1 cup raisins (Note: or about a half-cup of dried cranberries, which is what I did)

Now, gently stir in the oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 375F for 20 – 25 minutes.

The process

Easy-peasy. The last few recipes were rather more work than I’d like to see in muffins, especially the terrible marmalade and the truly wonderful lemon, both of which involved zesting citrus. Just the fact that I made these with three children under eight helping me tells you that these were a snap.

The batter tasted really good; like old-fashioned buttery oatmeal cookies. It was also the colour of vanilla caramels, which I took to be a positive sign because who doesn’t love vanilla caramels?

It made 12 good-sized muffins. Beware – these barely rose at all, so if you want your muffin cups full you’ll need to bring the batter level to at least 3/4.

The result

It’s been weeks since I made a muffin that made Michael follow me around talking about how good they were, but these did the trick. He says they are his favourite to date. They are nice; dense and sweet, with the cranberries giving a welcome tart note. You could certainly do with a cup of sugar or even less, especially if you used a sweeter dried fruit than cranberries.

We have a winner!

Next week – Oatmeal Orange

You’ll need orange juice and more raisins. Although I’m going to use cranberries again because a) I really, really like cranberry and orange ANYTHING and b) I bought a whole bunch of dried cranberries on sale once and I have bags and bags of the things in my pantry.