So there is a blogging group out there called Tuesdays with Dorie. Once a week, the group makes a selection from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours. Even though I don't belong to the group, there are plenty of blogs I read whose authors do bake along with it. Each Tuesday, I get to drool over the week's selection, looking at beautiful pictures of the baked goods and envying the treats and goodies of others. The truth is, if I did belong to TWD, it would probably cause me to gain 50 pounds. It's hard enough for me to find ways to pawn off the baked goods I already make, and if I had a new one each and every Tuesday, I'm afraid I'd find myself eating most of it myself!
Anyway, I digress. What I am trying to tell you is that after all this time, with me following along with the TWD bakers, I finally decided to make one of the recipes! I kept seeing variations on Dorie Greenspan's Oatmeal Breakfast Bread, which the group made two weeks ago. It looked like a great, healthy way to feed my kids some breakfast, and it sounded like something I would love, too.
The recipe was chosen by Natalie of Oven Love, and she decided to turn her bread into muffins. I thought this would be the way to go, so I made muffins, too. I liked Natalie's idea of substituting a half-cup of the flour in the recipe for whole-wheat. I did that, too. I used dried cranberries in my variation, because the recipe allows you to use pretty much any dried fruit you like. Then, I made the riskiest recipe change of all: I added zucchini.
When I saw the recipe on other bloggers' sites, I had visions of zucchini floating in my head. I had two big, beautiful zucchini (is it zucchini or zucchinis? I don't know!) sitting on my windowsill, and my head always turns to baked goods immediately when I think of how to use ingredients. There are other things I made with the zucchini (which I'll be blogging about soon), but I really wanted to try some in this recipe first. So I did!
The other fun spin I put on these muffins was the pan I used to bake a few of them. I had just purchased a Whoopie Pie Pan from Williams-Sonoma, and I was really excited to take it out for a test drive. I thought, if it'll work for whoopie pies (you know, those fun little sandwich cookies you make by putting a fluffy filling in between two cake-like cookies), it should work for muffins, too. I thought it would be cute to make little muffin tops; they'd be a great size for my younger son, and I'd get to practice using the new pan. That picture above features the cooled muffin tops; I thought they turned out great! Below are the full-size muffins, which I made 16 of.
I'm really glad I thought to use the zucchini in these, because it worked flawlessly. The flavors are similar to those you find in zucchini bread, or even carrot cake, which I always think of as a close cousin to zucchini bread. I really enjoyed the cranberries in there, too. It gave a nice, tart burst to the muffins, which was a nice counterpoint to all the sweetness.
So, even though I am not a part of Tuesdays with Dorie, I am happy to have finally tried out one of Dorie's recipes. I'm definitely interested in trying out some more of her stuff; maybe I can find one of her books at the library or something! Thank you, Natalie, for posting the recipe and for providing me with inspiration and ideas on how to make these muffins so good. Below, I have provided the recipe as I made it, along with a link to Natalie's post about the bread (muffins).
Oatmeal Zucchini Muffins
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Oatmeal Breakfast Bread
makes about 20 muffins (I made 16 muffins and 8 muffin tops)
For the topping:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the muffins:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries (Craisins)
1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick oats, I used a bit of each)
2 cups lightly packed, finely grated zucchini, squeezed to release excess liquid
1. Place rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin tins (or whoopie pie pan!) with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, use your fingers to toss together the sugar, nuts, and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Set aside to use as your topping.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil, and milk until well blended.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Remove 1/2 tsp. of the mix and toss it with the cranberries, just to coat; set aside. Stir the oats into the large bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened. Do not overmix. Stir in the zucchini, then scatter the cranberries over the batter and stir to blend.
5. Divide the batter evenly among your muffin tins or whoopie pie pans, if using. Evenly sprinkle the topping mixture over each muffin, pressing gently so the topping sticks.
6. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (the muffin tops take about 12-16 minutes). Transfer the tins to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the muffins from the tins. Continue to cool the muffins on the racks. Serve at room temperature. The muffins will keep well in an airtight container for 3-4 days.