This post is a little bittersweet. These muffins were baked back in mid-August (yes I am that behind); both kids helped a bit with the savory muffins, but much to Sammy’s frustration, Alex made the sweet muffins on her own (with my supervision). I explained to Sammy that she and I would have all year to work on tons of baking projects, so she should allow Alex to have some “Mommy time projects.”
The very next day I got the call that half day kindergarten had been canceled at our school. Too many families have been hit hard by the economy and have been forced out of their homes by foreclosure, sending them out of our school district. After a lot of tears and frustrated debating, we chose to send her to full day kindergarten, the best choice for her (I truly believe) but not necessarily me.
Sammy helping me by gently squeezing the seeds and juice out of the fresh tomatoes
You will hear people say kindergarten is the new 1st grade, and preschool is the new kindergarten. I didn’t raise a child in the 70s and 80s, but as far as I can tell by comparing stories with my mom this seems to be true. Which of course creates a problem for many kids who do not go to preschool. I know there are studies showing what a wonderful equalizer full day kindergarten can be for children from disadvantaged homes, where letters, shapes, colors and numbers are not discussed, children are not read to and preschool is not an option. And Sammy is adoring school, even though she is already familiar with all those concepts. So I feel certain we made the right choice. But the fact remains, it was not my choice. She has the whole rest of her life to be a student, to be responsible, to come home exhausted.
I wanted one more year with my baby. I wanted more than two and a half weeks notice that it was time for my baby to become a kid.
I hate regret. It is a useless emotion. And I especially hate regretting superficial things, like the fact that even though I know she has not thought twice about it since the day it happened, I wish I had had a special muffin project just for Sammy, the way I did for Alex that day. It is especially silly when you consider that she will have many more opportunities to bake with me. But there you have it. Like all mothers, I am not particularly rational when it comes to how I feel about sending my child to school for the first time.
But about the muffins. The savory muffin, shown above, was not a huge hit with the kids but John and I loved them. I think the idea of a savory muffin was just too strange to them. So moms and dads take heed–and shove one of these babies into your kids’ mouths when they are younger. Because they would make a great lunchbox item for the child willing to give them a chance. The tomato flavor is fantastic without being soggy and the olives are subtle enough to not overwhelm the muffin (a concern for me, I admit). And if the kids had liked them, I had planned to play around with whole grain substitutions.
The next recipe is the Chocolate Speckled Oat Muffin, which Alex prepared almost entirely on her own. I threw the chocolate into the food processor and took care of “grating” it. I think one of the things Alex likes best about baking is finding excuses to sample what she is making!
Needless to say, these muffins were a hit with everyone. Vanilla and milk soaked oats, a pile of chocolate shavings, what’s not to like?
A quick note about the savory muffins: we adore Asiago cheese in this house, but if you prefer, substitute freshly grated parmesan cheese. And another note about both muffins. The cookbook that they came from seems to make really big muffins–I think it is British, so maybe the muffin sizes are different there? Whatever the reason, be prepared to potentially bake in 2 batches or use a second pan.
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups milk we used 1% with a drizzle of cream
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups AP flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 3/4 t salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- scant 1 cup grated chocolate
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- coarse sugar for sprinkling (we used colored sugar)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line your muffin tin with liners and then lightly spray. Set aside.
Place the oats into a bowl and pour the milk and vanilla over them. Stir and then leave them to soak while continue prepping the rest of the recipe.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk in the grated/processed chocolate.
Stir the egg and melted butter into the oat mixture. Fold that mixture into the dry mixture gently, just enough to combine.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the muffin cups nearly full. If you have extra batter, prepare a second tin or place in the refrigerator to bake when the first batch is done and the pan has cooled a bit. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse sugar.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 T sugar
- ¼ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
- 3 T chopped fresh basil
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup milk (we used 1% with a drizzle of cream)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 4 medium sized ripe tomatoes, seeded, squeezed gently to remove excess juice and chopped
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped pitted olives, green, black or a mix
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ t salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¾ cup panko crumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line your muffin tin with liners and lightly spray them with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, Asiago cheese, basil and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, chopped olives, garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Pour this mixture into the dry mixture, and gently combine but do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling almost to the top. If you have leftover batter, either prepare a second tin or wait to bake that batter.
Mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle the topping over the muffin batter in the tin.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins have risen and are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.
These both look really, really, really yum. Asiago is one of my favorite cheeses and the though of a savory muffin makes my heart sing! Also, I must say, cute kids, but outstanding photos!
WoW !! Looks Yummm !! and Kids are too cute 🙂 Love their cute little apron !!
Both of these muffins look delicious. The kids looked like they were having fun too.
This was REALLY REALLY sweet, Laura…. I didn’t even look at the recipe, but I really loved the post.
Oh yeah. it is 4:31AM and Michigan still sucks!
I so remember the first day you went to kindergarten. After taking you, I went into my bedroom closet and cried like a baby. Yet, you have never really left me, have you? Great post.
Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings says
Hi, Laura! When I hear about the economic hardships felt by so many there in the States, I get really anxious. I think about all the people who have lost their jobs, their homes, the life they knew. Everyday, I thank my lucky stars that I still have a job, that my husband still has a job as well. Because if we lost our jobs, I wouldn’t know how to support our 3 kids…It’s very sad the way the world’s economy is becoming. We feel it here in Canada, too, but perhaps not as strongly as there in the U.S. Full-day kindergarten is probably a good idea now. Not only will the kids be in a learning environment, but they can relieve the parents from paying for day care (which in Canada can get expensive, I assume it is the same case in the States). Here in Toronto, the government is aiming to make all kindergarten full-day by 2014.
Anyway, back to the muffins…they look delicious. I see myself making these, so will be saving the recipe!
Betty Ann @Mango_Queen says
What a great experience for the kids when you bring them into the kitchen early, just like you’re doing now. And what cute photos! I miss those years. I loved your story and never realized what a big difference whole day kindergarten can do for them. Keep doing what you’re doing, Laura! You’re an awesome Mom! Thanks for the blog-visit and kind comments. Have a great week, and a wonderful schoolyear!
Jackie @ Domestic Fits says
This post made me cry! It is the good mom who worries about the small things as often as the big things. It’s hard place to live, but it’s a privilege in so many ways. My daughter is only two, but I have already thought about school and when is the “right” time.
Aww.. thanks. Sorry! 🙂
Cute pics, love seeing your kids bake. Budding cooks.
The oat muffins look great. what kind of chocolate did you use ….. for the grating.
I think it was Scharffen Berger semi sweet.
Laura, I printed this out weeks ago, but just got around to making the chocolate muffins tonight– I used half whole wheat flour and mini chips (Joey is too impatient for me to shave chocolate), I doubled the recipe, and made a dozen regular sized muffins, 2 dozens small muffins, and still had dough left over for 5 mini loaves. I think they are delicious– not as rich as a cookie, but satisfying.
You have inspired me to give Joey more experiences in the kitchen. So far, he likes breaking eggs the best. 🙂
Dear Lord if he is breaking eggs you are already far braver than me! I’m glad you guys are baking!