oatmeal cookie mini muffins
- Prep Time 25 minutes, including resting
- Cook Time 15 minutes
- Estimated Cost $4
- 44 Comments
When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, I remember thinking, I can’t wait to cook for you, little one! Visions of my darling angel devouring the organic vegetables I’d lovingly steam, puree, and carefully plate for her danced in my head. More turnips please, Mommy, she’d coo with perfect diction. May I have another serving of kale, dearest Mother? I love its earthy depth of flavor!
My daughter wouldn't be like the other kids I'd seen, slurping down blue Go-gurts and demanding the crusts of their Kraft singles grilled cheese be cut off. She would have a refined palate and a natural love of roughage! Certainly, I thought, this perfect child would never pick up the bowl of the nourishing, thoughtfully prepared lunch I’d set upon the tray of her high chair just moments earlier and hurl it to the floor with a squeal of delight as it seeps into my kitchen floorboards, yet, somehow, simultaneously turns to bright green spackle in the most unreachable corner of the ceiling. Surely my years of experience as a food professional would pay off in dividends when my perfect little sweetheart started solids.
Your kids must eat so well! people say when they find out what I do for a living. How lucky are they to have a mom who can cook!
They could if they wanted to, I joke. That option is available to them, I say, whilst stirring butter into yet another bowl of plain macaroni. Sure, I'll serve it with carrot sticks and apple slices with peanut butter, and maybe a few bites of each will be taken, but we all know what the real star of the plate is.
Honestly though, it's okay. It really is.
At this point, five-plus years into my child-feeding journey, I've accepted that things don't always go the way I want them to, and that taste expansion and flavor appreciation is a process, and that a healthy relationship with food and eating is more important than making sure they eat the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings for their age group. That, just because I cut produce into cute shapes and serve them with fun dips on brightly colored plates, they aren't guaranteed to be eaten, and that's okay because feeding kids is about more than fulfilling some quota of nutrients at every meal. It's about nourishing more than just their bellies. We're trying to foster a good relationship to food and eating, here.
It's slow-going, and progress ebbs and flows, but does come. Sometimes my kids only eat white foods, but sometimes--sometimes--they ask to try a bite of the salad on my plate. They don't usually like it, but still, baby steps, as it were. The one constant I know for sure is that making a big deal about what they are or aren't eating does more harm than good, so I've learned to keep my mouth shut and only high-five my husband stealthily under the table when one of them makes a comment about how much they love, "these yummy brown things," which I know for a fact are lentils.
These muffins, which feature fiber-packed oats and optional seeds, but also chocolate and brown sugar, the lattermost of which gives them a crisp, lightly caramelized exterior reminiscent of a chocolate chip-oatmeal cookie, are a staple in our house these days, and they nicely straddle the line of nutritious and exciting to a kid palate. They're equally good tucked into lunchboxes as they are with coffee for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
I like to make these in small batches so we can eat them within a couple of days of baking, hence the 12 mini-muffin yield of this recipe, but they also freeze very well an can be re-warmed in the microwave or toaster oven, so feel free to double or even triple the recipe.
The batter comes together quickly, and, like most kids in their first year of life, takes two short naps--one for 10 minutes, to let the oats and milk get to know each other, and a second 10-minute one, just before baking. This helps ensure the batter will rise nicely.
I like using mini muffin tins for this recipe, since I'm serving them to mini-eaters, and also because the increase in surface area results in very cookie-like muffins with a contrasting tender center, but feel free to bake them into 6 full-size muffins. You can, of course, use muffin liners, but I prefer to use cooking spray or butter, because it helps crisp the sides nicely which we don't normally want for a muffin, but which, for these, works.
The muffin cups go into a super hot oven, which helps their tops puff up immediately, then the temp gets cranked back down to 350 to finish cooking.
When they come out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for just a minute or two. If you used butter or cooking spray in place of the muffin liners, they might need a little help from the sharp edge of a butter knife to loosen them.
Then I like to get them onto a cooling rack pretty quickly.
In addition to the seeds, you can also amp up the nutrition by adding 1/4 cup of yogurt, pureed pumpkin, sweet potato, or a mashed banana (dial the milk down to 1/4 cup and the oil back to 2 tbsp if you do), or basically any chopped nut. You can also omit the chocolate altogether and switch up the flavor profile with other spices, like cardamom, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice. If you're nursing or want to make these for someone who is, add a couple of tablespoons of brewer's yeast powder and call them lactation muffins.
Or don't change a thing, and make them because they're delicious, which is, in my opinion, as good a reason as any.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (60g) pantry
- 2/3 teaspoons baking powder pantry
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon pantry
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda pantry
- 1/4 teaspoon salt pantry
- 3/4 cups rolled oats (84g) pantry
- 1/2 cup dairy or nondairy milk of choice (I used whole) (120ml) $1.50 for a pint
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract pantry
- 3 tablespoons avocado, vegetable, or melted coconut oil (44ml) pantry
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (55g) pantry
- 2-3 tablespoons hemp, chia, or ground flaxseeds optional
- 1 large egg $3 for 6
- 1/3 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips (67g), plus more for topping pantry
Recipe Serves 12
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- Line or grease a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners/cooking spray/softened butter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until completely combined
- In a separate medium bowl, stir the oats and milk together and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Add the vanila, brown sugar, oil, and eggs, and stir to combine.
- Add the dry mixture and stir together with the wet oats mixture until combined (do not overmix).
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Spoon the batter into the paper liners and top with a few extra
- Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for 8-10 minutes. The tops should puff up, and the muffins should be nicely browned.
- Remove from oven, and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. If you used cooking spray or butter, the muffins may need a little help from a butter knife to be gently removed from their cups after baking, but once loosened, they should pop right out.
- Serve warm, or transfer to an airtight container after cooling completely. The muffins will keep for about a week at room temperature or longer in the fridge/freezer.