Muffins go retro with oat crumble topping

Credit: E. Jason Wambsgans

Credit: E. Jason Wambsgans

Remote sounds distant, but we like to keep the magic TV wand close at hand. As does the dog. He’s got a knack for spotting an object we cherish, slipping it gently from the table, and gnashing it to bits.

Leaving us stumped. We tried pushing here and there on the dog, but the TV refused to go. We slouched on the couch in silence.

Then one of the local talents engineered a solution: the other remote! Worked like a charm. We mashed together on the couch, dog on top.

The upstairs TV, however, refused to go; it was missing its remote. Soon our engineer was back on the job, rigging a pulley from string, duct tape and an empty oatmeal canister.

Works like a charm. Now we ferry the remote upstairs and down without budging from the couch. The system is handy, retro-chic and suspended above paw’s reach. To stock up on parts, we’ve been downing lots of oatmeal.

Recently, the cable company sent a note about remote replacement. We slipped it off the table and tore it to bits.



Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 25 minutes

Makes: 12 standard-size muffins

1 tablespoon salted butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 or 4 chunks

1 tablespoon warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup cultured buttermilk

2 eggs

1. Prep: Brush a 12-muffin tin with the melted butter. Heat oven to 350.

2. Pulse: Measure brown sugar, all-purpose flour, oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into the food processor. Pulse several times. Drop in butter chunks and pulse a few times, until crumbs range in size from specks to peas. Dump this crumble into a large mixing bowl. Scoop out 1/2 cup crumble and set it aside.

3. Whisk: In a glass measuring cup, whisk smooth the water, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda (it will foam up). Whisk in buttermilk, then eggs.

4. Check: Did you set aside that 1/2 cup crumble? If not, you’ll be sorry. Pour buttermilk mixture over the big bowl of crumble. Use a soft spatula to fold to a smooth, thick batter.

5. Portion: Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin (an ice-cream scoop makes this easy). Sprinkle top of each muffin with reserved crumble. See?

6. Bake: Slide tin onto the oven’s center rack and bake until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool a few minutes. Enjoy warm.