I totally wanted to dust off my rolling pin and participate in this month's Daring Bakers' croissant challenge, but I just couldn't find enough time to fit it in before the posting deadline. Croissants have been on my baking to-do list forever and I don't think I will be marking it off anytime soon.
I've been baking less since I've been trying to eat less sugar lately. I don't like using sugar substitutes like stevia (Truvia), sucralose (Splenda) or aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet). They all have a funny aftertaste. And those sugar substitutes don't do well in most baked goods anyway since real sugar not only adds sweetness but aerates, moistens and adds structure to the baked good. Sugar substitutes can only add sweetness.
This cocoa oatmeal muffin is by no means health food and is definitely not low in sugar or fat. It is seemingly healthy due to the oatmeal. I love the deep, rich flavor of the unsweetened cocoa powder. And as strange as this might sound, it tastes just like a bowl of oatmeal (but with chocolate!).
Cocoa Oatmeal Muffins
(makes 15-18 muffins)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
2 cups buttermilk (low fat is okay)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural not Dutch-processed)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (like canola or grapeseed)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 15-18 standard-sized muffin wells with cupcake liners.
Combine rolled oats and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside the dry ingredients.
Add eggs to the oats-buttermilk mixture and mix well. Add sugar and mix well. Then add oil and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the flour-cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients and fold until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Gently fold in chopped chocolate (if using). Do not over mix. The batter should still be slightly lumpy.
Fill your muffin wells about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F until muffin tops have risen slightly and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay), about 20-25 minutes.