It is a failure of a blogger indeed to be dormant on one’s own site for almost three months! I offer my sincere apology for neglecting the kind readership that has encouraged me in this fledgling blogging enterprise. I admit, it wasn’t that the baking had stopped, but rather that the time between freshly baked, out-of-my-oven and wrapped, into the hands of others was cut tremendously short. Our lovely Saint Valentine’s day, for example, was a case-in-point: six dozen baked overnight and dipped in chocolate, packaged and given away the very next day!
Why six dozen cookies? Why the rush, you ask? Well, in Japan, Valentine’s day is somewhat different from the flower and box-of-chocolates tradition in America: it’s a day exclusively for girls and women to make homemade treats and truffles for friends, boyfriends, supervisors, coworkers, teachers, or in my case, all of the above. I should have taken advantage of the incredible ready-made boxes of exquisite fine chocolates–ganache, milk, dark, and white chocolates of all shapes, designs, and sizes–to dole out to my many kind fellows, but no, as a steadfast and silly stubborn goose, I refused all commercial help and made the darned things myself, all seventy-two hearty-shaped cookies. Next year, I’ll trade in my pride for a peaceful, stress-free St Valentine’s Day.
So after two very busy months of holidays, teaching, and traveling, this weekend’s total absence of plans or commitments was a much needed respite! It was also, finally, an opportunity for me to get quite-well caught up with my poor baking bowls and dishes collecting dust in the cabinet. Friday night, physically exhausted as I was from the long week, my mind raced with ideas for spiced apple cheesecakes, green tea shortbread, and chocolate-covered eclairs. In the end, however, I settled on a decidedly less elegant, but by no means less tasty confection: a hearty, healthy whole-wheat muffin deliciously full of oats, plump raisins, and naturally sweetened with honey. And with only two tablespoons of oil, along with the oats and whole grains to supplement, they are a perfectly guilt-free weekend breakfast or mid-afternoon snack! (or both… ^_^)
Fresh, frozen, or even a day old, the aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air as the muffins toast is the perfect remedy for a cold, gloomy winter day :)
Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
makes about 9 small muffins, or six in a larger pan
3/4 Cup flour
1/2 Cup quick oats (plus extra for muffin tops)
1/2 Cup raisins
1/4 Cup whole wheat flour or bran
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 Cup yogurt
1/4 Cup honey
2 TB vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, oats, and raisins; stir to combine. Whisk yogurt, honey, egg, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, and stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into a lined baking pan (I use a small silicone muffin tray which requires no lining or greasing), and sprinkle a small pinch of oats onto the muffin tops. Bake at 375˚ F (190˚C) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tops are golden and tester comes out clean.