In January all of the cooking shows, magazines, and food blogs all seem to feature light recipes. After the holidays, most of us atone (and bemoan) all of the sugar and butter and extra calories of the month before. (This year I even noticed a good number of cleanse posts and recipes–light to the extreme!) Still, if you are like me, it is hard to make such a radical shift in behavior. These muffins are one of the more guilt-free recipes in my repertoire. They are still a treat, but a slightly more virtuous one.

Kat Treats Cranberry Oatmeal Muffin

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins
Recipe type: Breakfast, Muffin
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-18
These muffins are mostly guilt-free. The creaminess of the buttermilk softens the oats beautifully and yields a pleasant, moist texture. The slight tang of the buttermilk is balanced by the dark brown sugar and its molasses notes. The cranberries perfectly complement the muffin. The best thing about this recipe is that you can measure out the dry ingredients the night before when you are putting the oats in with the buttermilk. Having your mise-en-place done in the morning means you can get this muffins assembled and in the oven quickly, then enjoy them with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1⅔ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  1. Combine oats and buttermilk in a bowl or a container that has a lid. Stir just to combine. Cover mixture and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. (You can do this the night before as well.)
  4. In a large separate bowl, whisk together oil and eggs.
  5. Add dark brown sugar and buttermilk mixture and beat with a hand mixer or spoon.
  6. Add flour mixture and stir or beat until just combined.
  7. Fold in ⅓ cup of dried cranberries.
  8. Spoon batter evenly between into 18 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray or lightly brushed with oil.
  9. Top the muffins with the other ⅓ cup of dried cranberries.
  10. Bake at 350° for 16-18 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. The muffin tops will spring back when touched gently.
  11. Remove muffins from pans and place on a wire rack.
I have experimented with the number of muffins this recipe yields. The original recipe divides into 24 muffin cups and recommends a cooking time of 15 minutes. I've made as few as 12 with this batter. In this case, I recommend 18 muffins, which makes a more standard-sized muffin. You could substitute another dried fruit if you wish. The original recipe calls for dried blueberries. I imagine dried cherries, chopped dried figs, or currants, or raisins would be nice as well. You could fold all of the dried fruit into the wet batter. I found that this often meant for uneven distribution between the cups and prefer to do it this way. These muffins are best right out of the oven or within one day. If you need to keep them longer, place in the refrigerator for three more days and microwave to warm. They also freeze beautifully. Adapted from "Overnight Oatmeal Muffins" in Cooking Light (August 2002).

  Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins Wet Ingredients  Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins Dry Ingredients

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffin Batter  Cranberry Oatmeal Muffin Ready to Bake