So Paula Deen really stepped in it (again) last week didn't she. As the old saying goes, "When people show you who they are, believe them." And didn't she show us exactly who she was a year or so ago when she hid her diabetes for three years all while continuing to promote the ridiculously unhealthy recipes on her cooking shows that no doubt contributed to her condition in the first place. Then when it became beneficial to her by way of a pharmaceutical endorsement contract and promotion of her son's new healthy cooking show, she came clean.
So excuse me for not buying her ignorance regarding her racial slurs. This woman is anything but stupid. Her attitudes are real and deeply ingrained. Her rationale is that she's from the South. While that's true, she was 17 when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 so she's had 49 years to educate herself. Maybe it's just me but I don't think sensitivity and judgement are regional.
So, kudos to The Food Network and Smithfields for kicking her and her antebellum attitudes to the curb. I was never a fan anyway.
What I am a fan of is cherries and crunchy, sweet muffins with huge ole muffin tops. And these Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffins deliver on all counts.
I found the recipe in the new Joanne Chang cookbook, flour, too. Which is fabulous, by the way, and should be added to your collection immediately! These muffins are hearty and maybe a tad healthier because they're made with whole wheat flour. And the addition of the creme fraiche gave them a nice little bit of tang. And those monstrous tops.....I constantly found myself walking by them in the kitchen and pinching a bite size piece of top off for a snack. It doesn't count if you don't eat the whole muffin at one time.
Just a note....these require the batter to sit overnight in the fridge so plan ahead.
Here's the recipe:
Brown Sugar - Oat Cherry Muffins
3 1/2 cups rolled (not instant) oats
1 1/4 cups creme fraiche
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh sweet or sour cherries, pitted and chopped
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
for the topping:
1/4 cup rolled (not instant) oats
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, stir together the rolled oats, creme fraiche, milk and butter with a wooden spoon until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together and stir into the oat mixture. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cherries and continue to stir until well combined.
In a separate small bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir until well mixed. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet oat mixture. The batter will be gloppy. Transfer the batter to an airtight container and place in the fridge. Let the batter sit for at least 8 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 deg. F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the cups of the muffin tin with paper liners, coat liberally with nonstick spray, or butter and flour them. Spoon about 1 cup of the batter into each muffin cup, filling it all the way to the brim and wa-a-a-y over. (It will seem like there's too much batter for the tins, but if you want the characteristic muffin top you need to over-fill them. You can make smaller muffins if you prefer and reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes.) The batter will be stiff and firm.
To make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins and place the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then remove the muffins from the pan.
These muffins taste best the day they are made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you keep them for longer then a day, refresh them in a 300 deg F oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week. Reheat directly from the freezer in a 300 deg F oven for about 10 minutes.