Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Special Oatmeal-Chocolatey Muffins

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

“People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold."
John Jay Chapman

It's Friday morning and I woke up to a healthy homemade oatmeal muffin. It was the fruity-nut and dark chocolatey kind of treat with a white Casper Ghost-like dollop of cream cheese frosting that put a smile on my face. There's so much talk about the flu that eating well can take away the spookiness of getting sick, sort of.
I recently penned an article about the swine flu vaccine, which will be published online November 1 in Oracle 20-20 Magazine. In this piece I dish out ways how to boost your immune system. Eating healthy nutrient-dense foods including antioxidant-rich health foods like fruits, nuts, chocolate and whole grains teamed with regular exercise are ways to keep us well to fight off the flu or weather it. So last night I was thinking oatmeal muffins I ended up using some nutritious ingredients: oatmeal, golden raisins, hazelnuts and premium dark chocolate...
I recall last year I often swam at an outdoor resort Lake Tahoe pool. One day it was a freezing 15 degrees outside. A storm was coming in, snow covered the ground, and there were ripples in the water (it was warm with steam rising from the top). But my ears were so cold. Still, I wanted to swim. I did. And I did get a nasty ear infection a few days later. This year it's the indoor pool for me and it's utopia-like effects complete with an oversized hot tub, waterfall, and off season it's usually all mine. Last year I used to purchase a pricey oversized muffin (with hidden fat and plenty of calories) at Starbucks after my workout. This year I'm coming home to all-natural homestyle muffins just like these oatmeal chocolately ones.

Halloween Special Oatmeal-Chocolatey Muffins
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup all natural whole wheat flour
1 large brown egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 stick European style butter
1 cup organic milk, 2% low-fat
1/2 teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hazelnuts or walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried apricots bits
1/2 cup gourmet dark chocolate chips, 72% cacao

Melt butter in a pan on low heat. In a bowl mix butter with beaten egg and sugar. Combine mixture with flour, oatmeal, powder, soda. Stir in nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or till golden brown and muffin tops bounce back at a finger's touch. Cool for about 20 minutes. Drop a small dollop of frosting on muffin tops and top with a nut or chocolate chip. Makes 12 medium sized muffins--not too big and not too small, a perfect size for anyone.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/8 cup European style butter
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Chill while the muffins are baking.

The jury is in and these natural muffins make me happy. They're not too sweet but sweet enough. I can taste the plump golden raisins, crunchy little hazelnuts (walnuts can work, too), and melted chocolate chips--a great way to get used to quality chocolate and like it. And the cream cheese frosting? Ah, using whipped cream cheese is so easy and the texture is creamy like the European style butter. Use just a tad because you don't want to overdo the sugar for your health's sake but a dollop is ideal. These muffins look pretty like the photo.

The best part, they're quick to make and you can control the size and ingredients. Trick or treat? These yummy Halloween muffins are a real treat, no tricks this year. Suggestion: Cozy up indoors and in the morning, afternoon or night pair one of these special muffins with a cup of fresh juice, herbal tea or hot chocolate and enjoy the seasonal changes.


  1. Wish I lived closer to have a muffen and French Roast coffee for breakfast, sitting around the table, talking about the day. All the things that have to get done. Might even start reading the new paper again.

    The morning here has been slow. I was going to bed when I remembered I said I was going to leave a comment.

    My laptop is running a bit better. I defreagments the hard drive, made more virtual memory, cleaned the disk drives. I had a bunch of temp. files from the internet, That gave me a lot of space. Apple Safari has a update to version 4. Updated Firefox yesterday to 3.6. Flock was updated. Is that what AOL is using now? Was using it yesterday, it's a nice clean browser. Still hooked on Firefox with all the goodies.

    I think I'll be going to the casino ths afternoon with Mae. Wonder if it's going to be a swine flu depot with people walking around with masks and couching. I just hate that you know.

  2. Hi Bob,
    These muffins are so good. All gone, great test. Swine flu? I just took a test and it said I should go to the doctor. I don't know if it's the hypochondriac in me -- or for real.