Last night I had my fellow students from the study abroad program I did in France over for sangria and crepes. It was lovely! And—it provided some baking inspiration. I have a framed recipe hanging in my kitchen, and someone asked about it. Let’s just say I have a long history with this particular recipe.
Over a period of approximately 10 years, starting when I was in middle school, my mom and I made this recipe at least once a month—always in the form of muffins instead of bread. It’s a “friendship recipe”–one of those deals where you get the starter for the batter from someone else, and then when you make the recipe you end up with starter that you have to pass on to other people. It’s a vicious cycle. Especially when you live in a town of about 4000 people and you only know a certain percentage of them well enough to approach them with a Ziploc baggie full of stinky, fermenting muffin batter.
But once we started, it was impossible to break free! Cinnamon muffins were the official food of my high school career. I have a friend from high school who I think only hung out with me because she knew we would always have them in the freezer when she came over.
And then, one fateful day, our starter inexplicably turned moldy. I think it was Mother Nature’s way of saying “Stop making these muffins, you psychos—they have no redeeming nutritional value and nobody else wants to be dragged into this!” Just like that, no more cinnamon-y starts to my mornings. I hadn’t thought about the recipe for quite some time, but last night when someone noticed it hanging above my sink and mentioned it, I decided I would try making up a starter-less version that would be similar, but healthier. After a quick perusal of my mom’s recipe binder, I was ready to go.
Muffins are super-easy, so there’s no need for lots of step-by-step photos here. You just dump everything into one bowl and mix until just combined, spoon the batter into the muffin tins…
…bake, and BOOM—basket of muffins.
These have the same flavor as the originals (thanks to cinnamon and a non-negotiable box of Jello butterscotch pudding), but with a lot less sugar and oil. They also have happy, healthy stuff added in—oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and ground flax seeds. My little muffins are all grown up!
New and Improved Cinnamon Muffins (makes 16-18)
- 2 c. almond milk
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 c. oats
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 2/3 c. white flour
- ¾ c. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 small box Jello butterscotch pudding mix
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ c. ground flax
Stir the cider vinegar into the almond milk (this is to mimic the flavor of buttermilk). Then combine all ingredients, mixing until just blended. Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes.
Easy breezy, no? Try making up a batch and giving them to a friend. Actual muffins > muffin batter.