Joanne Chang’s Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffins
These muffins are loaded. With oats, cherries and a whole lot of goodness.
They fill the pan with an avalanche of batter, rising up with bountiful domes.
Joanne Chang, the Harvard grad-turned-baker extraordinare with four Flour bakeries and the Myers + Chang diner, all in Massachusetts, has done it again. If you loved her first cookbook, “Flour” (Chronicle Books), you’re sure to treasure its follow-up, “Flour, Too” “Flour, Too” (Chronicle Books). The second cookbook, of which I received a review copy, includes 100 recipes, not just for sweets, but savories, as well, including apple-wood smoked BLT, “Mama Chang’s Hot and Sour Soup,” and mushroom and leek lasagna.
Of course, having the sweet tooth that I do, I couldn’t resist zeroing in on the pastries first.
“Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffin” is like a nourishing bowl of morning oatmeal — only in muffin form. Which means it’s just a little naughty, as a result.
There’s a plentiful amount of oats in the batter, as well as a smattering in the just-sweet-enough cinnamon-sugar that’s sprinkled over the tops before baking. There’s also a generous amount of cherries, which makes this an ideal recipe to make at this time of year with Rainers, Sweet Brooks and Bings in season at the farmers markets.
Like Thomas Keller, Chang likes to stir up her muffin batter, then let it rest in the fridge eight hours or overnight before baking to allow the dry ingredients to fully absorb the liquids. So, do plan accordingly.
Then, enjoy a hearty, warm muffin full of fiber, fruit and all that good stuff.
Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffins
3 1/2 cups rolled (not instant) oats
1 1/4 cups creme fraiche
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh sweet or sour cherries, pitted and chopped
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For brown-sugar oat topping:
1/4 cup rolled (not instant) oats
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, stir together rolled oats, creme fraiche, milk and butter with a wooden spoon until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together and stir into the oat mixture. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cherries, and continue to stir until well combined.
In a separate small bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and stir until well mixed. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet oat mixture. The batter will be gloppy. Transfer the batter to an airtight container and place in the fridge. Let the batter sit for at least 8 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the cups of the muffin tin with paper liners, coat liberally with nonstick spray, or butter and flour them. Spoon about 1 cup of the batter into each muffin cup, filling it all the way to the brim and wa-a-a-y over. (It will seem like there’s too much batter for the tins, but if you want the characteristic muffin top you need to overfill them. You can make smaller muffins if you prefer and reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes.) The batter will be stiff and firm.
To make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins and place the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then remove muffins from the pan.
These muffins taste best the day they are made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you keep them for longer than a day, refresh them in a 300 degree oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week. Reheat directly from the freezer in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Cranberry Variation: For a winter version of this addictive muffin, substitute 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries for the cherries. Proceed as directed.
From “Flour, Too” by Joanne Chang
More Recipes By Joanne Chang: Apple Snacking Spice Cake