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Oatmeal Cookie Cupcakes

The name stems from the topping, which instead of being crumbly and dry is chewy and verging on caramel-like, just like a really good oatmeal cookie. The body of the cupcake itself, in contrast, is fine-crumbed and tender. In addition to being great for the lunchbox, these also make a good breakfast treat.

The topping:1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup rolled "quick" oats
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 generous pinch ground clove
1 generous pinch ground cinnamon

The muffins:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk

Put an oven rack at the upper-middle level, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 8 or 9 muffin cups in a muffin tin, and set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together all topping ingredients. The consistency will be thick and crumbly.

In a separate small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, and beat in the egg.

Incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the buttermilk, and beat briefly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again just until combined -- do not overbeat.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, dividing it evenly among them. Using a spoon or your fingers, place pieces of topping mixture on top of each muffin, pressing down gently. You will not cover each muffin top completely.

Bake muffins on the upper-middle rack at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are well-risen and dark golden. Allow to cool completely, and then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks). To serve cupcakes that have been frozen, allow to thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving, then warm for about 15 minutes in a preheated 300-degree oven.

Makes 8 or 9 cupcakes.

Catherine Vodrey

Sunday, October 01, 2000

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