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The right buttons

Before we get started: thank you for your comments on my previous post, and for sharing so many good tips and ideas about feeding families. May I say that you all seem like great parents? You seem so sane. (Sanity! Sometimes I think it’s the highest goal.) I’m going to get unbecomingly sappy for a minute and say, yet again, how happy I am to have this space, this community of sorts. I know I’ve said it before, but I think about it even more often than I say it.

I also think about leftover oatmeal muffins. I think about leftover oatmeal muffins even more often than I think about oatmeal, which is inconvenient, because you obviously have to have oatmeal before you can have leftover oatmeal muffins.  Annnnd now you know why I make oatmeal. I’ve been keeping it from you all this time.

Of course, good oatmeal, like Megan’s oatmeal in the link up there, reheats so well that there’s no reason not to eat it on the second day. By all means, eat your leftover oatmeal.  But should you ever find yourself with not-as-good-as-Megan’s oatmeal, or should you be bored with eating oatmeal as oatmeal, or should you be only human in that you would rather have a muffin (which some people like to remind us, wanh wanh WAAAH, is basically cake) than hot cereal, you should laminate this recipe and stick it to the fridge. I first heard about it from Lisa, who (I think) heard about it from Amanda Soule, who quietly slipped her recipe into the end of a blog post a couple of years ago. And now I am here to shout about it.

I’ve made these muffins many times, many different ways.  At some point, I discovered that there’s also a recipe for leftover oatmeal muffins in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and the way I make mine is a hybrid of that one and Amanda’s.  I use more butter than Amanda does - though there’s still not much; you could certainly try more - and I use less baking powder.  As muffins go, these are not sweet, not heavy, and they’re also not especially cake-like. They’re just cake-like enough to push the right buttons, but not to set off any alarms.  They have a wonderful chew, the way most baked goods involving oats do, and if you use steel-cut oatmeal, it’s especially nice. The steel-cut oats almost seem to crackle - don’t know how that could be, but they do - in your mouth. And it’s a handy recipe, too, because in addition to taking care of your leftover oatmeal, it will also absorb any flavorings you want to add: nuts (ding ding!), seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, chunks of chocolate (ding ding!), spices, whatnot. I call this recipe a keeper.

The one thing I should say: because these muffins don’t have a great abundance of butter, they really are best on the first day.  I know a lot of recipes say that, and I don’t always agree, but here I do.  That said, the recipe does make a good number of muffins, and if you have some left over, all is not lost. I’ve eaten them after two or three days on the counter, and not unhappily.  Just throw them in a toaster oven (or regular oven) to warm them and recrisp the edges.

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from Amanda Soule and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

These muffins come together quickly, especially if you mix up the dry ingredients the night before. I once managed to make them at 7:30 am while wearing a wiggly 14-month-old in a sling. FIST BUMP! (Or, TERRORIST FIST JAB!  Uggghhhhh.)

Also, for the record, I like these best with walnuts and bittersweet chocolate as my add-ins.  I used a ¼ cup of each: that’s about 30 grams of walnuts, chopped, and 45 grams of Valrhona 64% Manjari chocolate discs, chopped.

1 ½ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup add-ins (such as nuts, chopped chocolate, coconut flakes, fruit, etc.)
1 large egg
1 cup (185 grams) cooked oatmeal, preferably steel-cut
½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 400°F, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and add-ins.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the oatmeal to the egg, and mash with a fork to break up clumps. Add the milk and the butter, and stir or whisk to combine.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir briefly to just combine. Divide the batter evenly between the wells of the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. The muffins won’t brown much on top and might even look a little anemic, but that’s okay. Serve warm, ideally.

Note: These muffins are best when they’re fresh from the oven, or on the day that they’re made.

Yield: 12 smallish muffins


Blogger Monica said...

Oh, I love this recipe - thank you for sharing, Molly! I've been looking for a good oatmeal muffin recipe, never thinking about an actual *cooked oatmeal* muffin. Walnuts and chocolate would be my mix in of choice as well. Thanks again!

10:57 AM, January 31, 2014  
Anonymous JB said...

I almost always have leftover porridge in the fridge because I love it so (sweet or savoury, any time of day, cold, hot). I've often thrown it in Kim Boyce's pancakes, but this recipe also looks like a winner. And walnuts + chocolate? Brilliant.

11:28 AM, January 31, 2014  
Blogger Amber said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It looks wonderful. It was great meeting you this past weekend in Birmingham. You have such a sweet spirit and a kind heart. You have the unique ability to bless people with your words and heartfelt stories. Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of it!

Amber | for the love of the south

11:44 AM, January 31, 2014  
Anonymous Katie said...

My first thought was...I wonder if they'll be the SouleMama muffins - because they're so easy and so great!! I'm excited to try your version :)

12:33 PM, January 31, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I split my day old muffins and toast the split pieces, then butter them. They are better than the first day.

12:48 PM, January 31, 2014  
Anonymous molly said...


So, having read Amanda's post, what, a year+ ago? I finally, FINALLY made these muffins, just THIS past week. And fell, hard, head over heels, for their tender, nubbly, sweet-but-not-too, melting crumb. We added berries (blue, raz), and adored them. And we are not remotely muffin people.

Semi-related: as you no doubt know, right around 14 months, chairs pushed backwards against the kitchen counter (plus a big bowl of old oatmeal + wooden spoon) is the BOMB, in terms of entertainment AND breakfast.

2:32 PM, January 31, 2014  
Blogger Jess said...

That video is the funniest thing I have ever seen.
I need to make those muffins.
I didn't comment last week, because my 21 month old has been food-averse (textures, probably) for most of her life. Lots of nursing around here...
This past week, though, she must have been inspired because she's eating noodles and pear puree and beef stew and whatever we put in front of her. It's been quite exciting.

4:47 PM, January 31, 2014  
Blogger Hannah said...

I'd never ever made oatmeal until this morning. After reading your testimony to Marge's technique and then hearing about it again on Year in Food, I realized I was missing something. And I was, so thank you! Now I have a bit of leftover oatmeal, and I was was wondering if it would reheat, and here you assure me it will. Thank you again! Maybe next week I'll make a double batch of oatmeal and get with these muffins... Oatmeal is my new best friend.

8:47 PM, January 31, 2014  
Blogger Emily said...

I feel warm inside already. These muffins look great and I always seem to have a bit of leftover oatmeal at the end of the week.

3:39 AM, February 01, 2014  
Anonymous Maegan K. said...

Molly! I really feel that you are a mother kindred spirit now because using up leftover oatmeal is such a nurturing, thrifty, healthful thing to do (let along the self-sacrifice it takes to care for a toddler and home make a breakfast). We often use up our spare oatmeal this way. This recipe also makes a nice breakfast cake and allows itself to blossom under myriad of additions (blueberries, dried cranberries, orange zest, raisins, etc., etc., etc...).

5:30 AM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Liza said...

I make my oatmeal one bowl at a time (1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 2/3 cup water, 2 minutes in the microwave) so I never have leftovers. Maybe it's time to make a bit more.

8:31 AM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Fiona Young-Brown said...

Will have to try making these.

Loved hearing you speak in Birmingham last weekend. I too am a recovering grad student (medical anthropology). I wonder if there are enough of us for a food support group!

11:07 AM, February 01, 2014  
Anonymous Joann said...

Yum. I have a great crock pot recipe for steel cut oatmeal and these would be just perfect for the (sometimes unlikely) leftovers.

11:24 AM, February 01, 2014  
Anonymous wanderingeducators said...

Oh, yum. We still make your gingery chocolate banana bread quite often (1st book) and love it, but this oatmeal muffin is even more genius. i think i'll make oatmeal today, LOL. Thank you!

12:06 PM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger heyfran said...

Your blog is so calming. I want to sit and drink tea while reading. I just started blogging and a friend said, "Look at Orangette, it's fabulous." So, I did, now there are eight million recipes I must try. Thanks for a great example of what a blog can be.


12:24 PM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

YEA, I 'found' you again :) I loved your first book and looking foreward to the next one. I do have porridge left over and reheat and eat......but will definitely try the 'mufflings'. Thank you so much.

1:14 PM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Just Spiff It said...

Oh my - I will never ever eat my oatmeal again without browning it in butter. I love the nutty flavor. Hey - I see you are coming to Tulsa with your new book. I plan on being there! I hope I get to meet you.
Have a great weekend.

1:26 PM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Sarah said...

I just love reading your blog because of all the recipes you share that fit my tastes. I love your cooking and recipe styles, it gives me such joy to read another post by you.

I tried making Megan's Oatmeal recipe you posted and I love it! More than any oatmeal I have ever tried. These muffins are calling my name, I plan to make them this week. Thanks!

3:15 PM, February 01, 2014  
Blogger Margo said...

I use my leftover oatmeal to make biscuits! It's a recipe I found at the end of a novel about a girl who was a homesteader when she was 14. Hattie's-lighter-than-lead biscuits. Love them.

Might have to try your version of Amanda's recipe.

7:13 PM, February 01, 2014  
Anonymous Ellen said...

I still cook all sorts of stuff from Fannie Farmer, it is up there with Joy on Cooking and anything by America's Test Kitchen in terms of awesomeness.

4:30 AM, February 02, 2014  
Anonymous Erin said...

Thank you for this recipe! I hate to waste food and now I don't have to. I used my overnight oatmeal recipe that includes quinoa, dried fruit, cinnamon, and cardamom. I followed your recipe- including nuts and chocolate. Although I did use gluten free flour. They were amazing! Light and flavorful, they were made for the Irish butter with which I served them.

7:01 AM, February 02, 2014  
Anonymous jo said...

I made these today, with added apricots and dark chocolate. Really lovely and light. I used left over porridge made with jumbo oats. Thank you!

12:33 PM, February 02, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a way to print out just the recipe and not the entire post?

1:39 PM, February 02, 2014  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, my Blogger template doesn't give me an easy way to help you print. But what I do is just highlight the portion I want, copy and paste it into a Word document, and print from Word.

2:28 PM, February 02, 2014  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I am here to confess that I may be the only human who likes oatmeal muffins and oatmeal crumb toppings but detests oatmeal or realy any hot cereal. For this recipe must we make oatmeal or can I just use plain oats? I do however love this blog so much!

1:09 PM, February 03, 2014  
Blogger Sara said...

Mmm these might manage to break our banana bread routine ... :)

4:42 PM, February 03, 2014  
Blogger Tami said...

I have a question on the amount of flour used in this recipe. Do you simply convert your recipes from volume to weight, or do you weigh out the ingredients for your recipes? I've been using 125 grams for 1 cup of flour, unsifted, which seems to be a standard on a number of conversion websites. It works perfectly for Smitten Kitchen pumpkin muffins, where 1.5 cups of flour works out to 187 grams. Next to 1.5 cups flour in this recipe you have 210 grams for the weight. That's a 23g/almost a 1 ounce difference in weight. However, this might explain why some muffin recipes I've made are a bit overly moist and sticky - not enough flour. These sound delicious, but the ratios different than most muffins recipes I've seen.

9:01 PM, February 03, 2014  
Anonymous Ann said...

Aha, thank you! I used to make these and they were great. Despite going back to the recipe, for the past year, my method no longer worked and I couldn't work it out! Thank you, you are a psychcic saviour! PS I also use a small amount of leftover porridge in home made bread.

4:47 AM, February 04, 2014  
Blogger Molly said...

Tami, that's a great question - and the problem that you've raised is also a great argument for always using weight measures! In my kitchen, when I'm working on a recipe, I do actually weigh out the ingredients, yes. The weight of a cup of flour varies dramatically, as you know, based on how you scoop it and so on, and some people get 125 grams, while others get more. In my kitchen, I consistently find that 1 cup of flour (unsifted) weighs 140 grams. When I was first starting to use weight measures, I did a bunch of comparisons between different websites and cookbooks, because I knew that some people used 125 grams as the equivalent for 1 cup, and I found people using all kinds of numbers - 125, 130, 135, 140, etc. (David Lebovitz, for instance, says 140 grams.) Anyway, yes, when I call for 140 or 210 or howevermany grams, you can assume that, in my own kitchen, I do use that weight!

9:50 AM, February 04, 2014  
Blogger Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I haven't made muffins in a long time and this might just be a good place to start! I could take them to work and become instantly popular...

3:05 PM, February 04, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Molly, would you *please* consider adding a 'Pin It' button to your posts/recipes? I would be forever grateful, thanks! A big fan!!

12:52 PM, February 05, 2014  
Blogger Orchard Girls said...

Hi Tami,
I just found your blog and am loving all of your fun recipes! These muffins sound delish!
Also, Kenzie and I, over at Orchard Girls just started a Link Party for recipes, every Wednesday at 8am! Just wanted to extend the invitation to you!

6:30 PM, February 05, 2014  
Blogger Orchard Girls said...

oops, I just realized a put the wrong name!! I am so sorry Molly! Wow, one of those days...

6:32 PM, February 05, 2014  
Anonymous Lorrie said...

It's cold. We're iced in, snowed in, and I just realized that this recipe only calls for one egg, which is all I have. I am on my way to the kitchen RIGHT NOW to make these! By the way,I did something yesterday I've never done before...I pre-ordered a book. I love 'Orangette', 'A Homemade Life', and if I lived in Seattle, would no doubt be a regular at Delancy. I'll have to settle for the book...

9:05 AM, February 09, 2014  
Anonymous Elayna said...

I am still doing spin offs of this recipe I am totally in love! Thank you.

11:25 AM, February 10, 2014  
Blogger echowoman said...

I made extra oatmeal to make these with chocolate chips and dries cherries. My son said they were the best muffins I have ever made. Thank you for the recipe!

5:26 AM, February 15, 2014  
Anonymous Mark said...

Made these with walnuts today, they were awesome! As always, thank you for another great recipe!

9:57 AM, February 16, 2014  
Blogger Monica said...

Hi again Molly - I made a half batch of these muffins yesterday. Leftover steel cut oatmeal, walnuts, choc chips...it was terrific! I love that snap under my teeth from the steel cut oats. Thanks for sharing the recipe! : )

5:28 AM, February 17, 2014  
Blogger kelli ann & lorie said...

Sanity is the only goal. It's a pretty good goal.

1:29 PM, February 20, 2014  
Blogger Lynn @ TheActorsDiet.com said...

I feel like I could have muffins or oatmeal any time of the day - now I can have BOTH.

2:56 PM, February 23, 2014  
Anonymous Angel said...

I forgot the baking powder and these still came out pretty well! I used chopped dates, toasted slivered almonds, and orange zest for our add-ins. Thanks for the recipe!

9:07 AM, March 09, 2014  
Blogger Anna Muzzin said...

I want to make these tomorrow so this morning I made a pot of Megan's oatmeal. I think I have a new weekend ritual. Wow.

6:39 AM, March 22, 2014  
Anonymous Kate said...

These are JUST perfect! I made a huge batch of oatmeal yesterday that has given us babyfood, mama's breakfast and now Mama's afternoon (and mid-morning and possibly before bed) snack for the week. I added dark chocolate pieces, dried cranberries, dried cherries, cinnamon and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top. Yummm! Thanks, Molly!!

8:38 AM, April 17, 2014  
Blogger Angela Desouz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:29 PM, April 20, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did a search for Oatmeal and egg and here I am. Just ate the first muffin, very good. I did as you suggested, little more butter, little less baking powder. Added walnuts cinnamon and pure vanilla.I'll be back.

9:14 AM, April 22, 2014  
Anonymous jen said...

Toddler and baby both love oatmeal, so there's always some in the fridge. Now I know what I'll do anytime we have too much and I have 5 spare minutes. They were so fast, so moist, tasted almost pancakey, and were divine the next morning toasted in my cast iron and slicked with butter and jam. Thank you.

10:24 AM, April 29, 2014  
Blogger Sara said...

Just made with added cranberries and orange zest. Lovely recipe for using up porridge! Husband will love them, the kids probably not! :)

7:29 AM, May 10, 2014  
Anonymous Aisha said...

Hi Molly! I haven't made these yet, but your note on how the muffins get dry the next day due to the low butter content got me thinking. Wouldn't oil help, as in subbing oil for butter? I'm thinking of how a french gâteau au yaourt stays quite most for days due to oil. And since melted butter is used here, subbing should be pretty straightforward. I'll let you know if I try it, but it was just a thought.
Oh and guess what made me look up this recipe today. My 15-month old daughter seems to be fed up (ha ha) with her Bircher muesli, so I've been collecting this leftover muesli for the past week. It has a similar texture to oatmeal, albeit without the gelatinous cooked starch and with a tang from the yogurt. I'll experiment with it and see how it turns out.

1:50 PM, November 29, 2014  
Blogger Molly said...

I like the way you think, Aisha. Please do keep me posted!

2:41 PM, November 30, 2014  
Blogger Rachel Page said...

These were fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

11:31 PM, December 01, 2014  
Anonymous Heather @ My Overflowing Cup said...

These look SO good! I'm going to make them right now. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

6:55 PM, December 15, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to find a recipe that helps me use up my leftover oatmeal. I tend to stick close to a recipe the first time I try it, so I stuck faithfully to above and didn't add any of the spices I'd ordinarily include, with the result that these came out a bit bland. I have more than my spouse and I can eat, and was hoping to give some away, but I don't know if coworkers will enjoy these despite the delightful texture. They're really low-key, even with over half a cup of chopped chocolate, walnuts, currants and a tbl of unsweetened coconut. I recommend (if any newcomers read this far down) cinnamon and cardamom highly!

6:11 PM, May 19, 2015  

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