When I was in high school I was all about the early mornings. Because my dad had to bring me at school before he went into work, I would crawl out of bed at 5:30, often before the sun was up. By the time he dropped me off it was only about 7:15 and my first class didn’t start until 9. So basically I had a lot of time to kill. Some days I’d catch up on homework I hadn’t finished the night before, other days I would nap in the sophomore lounge. But at some point on most mornings I’d wander into the dining hall to see if Jerry was there prepping for the day.
Jerry was in charge of lunch time at my high school and thusly was a very important man. In the quiet morning hours though, before throngs of plaid skirt wearing high school girls queued up for taco salad (a Thursday tradition), he could be found quietly stocking beverages or unpacking boxes of muffins. I honestly don’t remember much about our exchanges other than that they were brief but courteous, and usually involved me handing him a dollar and him in turn handing me a giant Price Club muffin.
Jerry passed away recently. I heard about it via some social media outlet – probably Facebook. I hadn’t thought about him once in the time between graduating high school and reading of his death roughly 15 years later. And I can’t say that we were ever very close. But it does make me think fondly of those dark, quiet mornings and of those muffins. I’m glad that I have that one memory of him, and that occasionally when I eat a muffin, especially the kind you know is just cake masquerading as a breakfast food, that I’ll think of him and how he was always there on those early mornings.
These muffins are a little different than the ones I would get from Jerry, which were more dessert than breakfast, mammoth, and individually wrapped in plastic. But they are sweet and delicious and reminiscent of younger days. I hope you make them, or if not, that you make something today that stirs up a nice memory.
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Muffins
Fluffy muffins meet nutty oatmeal topped with brown sugar streusel which is pretty much breakfast nirvana – also a great way to use up leftover oatmeal.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 Muffins
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the streusel topping:
1/4 C oats
1/4 C flour
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T turbinado sugar*
4 T cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
pinch of salt
For the muffins:
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/4 C oil
1/4 C plain yogurt (I used whole milk, but greek would also be fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 C cooked steel cut oatmeal, cooled*
4 T unsalted butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 375° F. Grease a standard muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine all of the streusel ingredients. Combine with your hands, pinching the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs (the largest pieces will be about the size of a pea). Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
In a medium bowl (or large measuring cup), combine the eggs, oil, yogurt, vanilla, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cooked oatmeal. Whisk until smooth.
Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until there are still a couple dry streaks of flour left. Add the melted butter and continue to stir just until butter is incorporated and no dry flour remains.
Portion the batter evenly into the muffin tin (filling each well about 3/4’s full). Top each muffin with a heaping tablespoon of the streusel mixture, pressing it gently into the batter to adhere.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly dry (a few moist crumbs attached are good, wet batter is not) and the streusel on top is golden brown.
Let cool in the tin for ten minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Serve warm with butter.
*If three types of sugar seems a little fussy to you, you can skip the turbinado sugar in the streusel and instead just use all brown sugar. I do love it though because it gives the topping a nice crunch.
*Steel cut oatmeal is the nuttier, chewier, version of oatmeal, before it gets rolled out into those thin flakes. You can also use cooked, rolled oats if you’d like, but make sure they’re on the thicker side, but don’t use instant or quick cooking.
Keywords: brown sugar oatmeal muffins, oatmeal muffins, streusel topping, breakfast muffins, quick breakfast