Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apricot almond oat muffins

Top o' the morning to ya!  Did you have a nice weekend?  Whether it was a standard two-day-er or a holiday three-day-er, I hope it was relaxing and re-energizing.

Ours was pretty great, despite last night's exchange of "What did we do this weekend?  I can't remember!"  Nothing outlandish, but lots of little things that added up to a just-what-we-needed kind of time.  Saturday, in particular, was basically my perfect day.

I woke up without an alarm (like I said, it's the little things!), went for a long run, cleaned, updated picture frames, watched some college hoops, went out to dinner at a new-to-us restaurant, and even took a cat nap in the afternoon.  Something about a 20-minute nap seems like such a luxury and is so refreshing; I might try to make them a regular practice when I start ramping up my long runs before the half marathon in May.

And, to make things truly spectacular, I baked.  Sugar, spice, and a Saturday so nice!

It's not often that I bake in the mornings; I find most of my baking takes places in the afternoons (weekends) or evenings (weeknights).  Whenever it happens, I usually enjoy a sample of whatever I've made, even if the timing isn't traditional.  For instance, banana muffins may be breakfast fare, but they taste just as good at 9 o'clock at night.  That's because anything warm and fresh out of the oven is heavenly.

On Saturday morning, I was in a tinkering mood and a muffin mood.  Cross those two moods and you get yummy fluffy apricot almond oat muffins!

Nothing says "Good morning!" quite like a batch of warm homemade muffins.  They make the apartment smell fantastic and will even stir the sleeping beasts men and children.  A muffin or two pairs wonderfully with a cup of orange juice or coffee.

Muffins are a tricky genre of baked good; are they breakfast or dessert?  When I see things like butter, chocolate, and white sugar, I know we're heading down the dessert path.  But these are most definitely breakfast, thanks to some of the ingredient swaps I made that only amped up the flavors even more.

Healthy oats, unsweetened applesauce (in place of oil), crunchy almonds (healthy fats), and sweetness from a little bit of brown sugar and can't-have-just-one dried apricots.  So many textures and flavors and just sweet enough!

I think my favorite part may have been the extra oats on top of the muffins that turn golden and taste nutty thanks to the toasting in the oven.  I couldn't help trying to pick some of the top of Matt's muffins, too.  Nothing like starting the day with a little healthy competition, right?

Now, because they were on the healthy side, you can bet I split these muffins and topped 'em with a little butter.  It's not necessary, but it sure made Saturday even more perfect-er.

One year ago: Homemade marshmallows
Two years ago: Cheeseburger pizza
Three years ago: Coconut & macadamia nut cookies
Four years ago: Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Apricot Almond Oat Muffins
-makes 8 muffins

A few notes: Any kind of oats will do here, -fashioned or quick; I simply prefer the texture of old-fashioned and it's what I always have on hand.  Also, you could most definitely use whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose; I'm going to try that next time.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Liberally coat 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup oats, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar, milk, applesauce, vanilla, and egg until combined.

Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture, stirring to combine.  Fold in apricots and almonds.  Divide batter equally among 8 cups and top each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon remaining oats.  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.  Remove pan to wire rack and cool for 3 minutes.  Run knife around edges of each muffin cup and remove muffins to rack to cool.  Serve immediately or at room temperature with butter and enjoy!

Muffins can be covered and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.  Alternately, they can be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw at room temperature for an hour or microwave.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, these look delish!! I could go for like 3 of these in the morning with my coffee!! :) Hehe!