Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Since the beginning of January, my baking habits seem to be circulating around one central theme—breakfast. When I pull out the flour and sugar early on Saturday morning, scones and muffins are the first items swirling about my mind. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise to me that cookies and cakes are pushed to the side for a simple treat that can accompany a plate of bacon and eggs. With dozens of ingredient variations on my favorite recipes just a cupboard away, I could not resist baking and sharing just one more breakfast recipe with you.

I stand by the claim that everyone loves a good muffin.

Recently at work, a coworker brought in a couple dozen muffins from a nearby bakery to share. Since I began baking a few years ago, I have rarely gone out of my way to buy baked goods that I can easily make for myself. Along with chocolate chip cookies, good old fashioned muffins make that list. I grabbed the nearest over-sized blueberry muffin and took a bite. To put it quite simply, I was disappointed. The muffin was much more like a mislabeled cupcake—too sweet, with blueberries that looked and tasted nothing like the fruit I adore.

When did store bought muffins fall so far?

Feeling the desire to right the wrongs of bakers past, I turned on the oven and got to work, creating my vision of what a muffin should be. Muffins hold a place as a sacred breakfast treat to me. They ought to be lightly sweetened, with enough sugar to satisfy the taste buds, but never enough to mistake it as a cake. Muffins should be driven by a hearty texture and filling personality. A good muffin should have a healthy nature, but be delicious enough to deceive yourself into believing that you are eating dessert.

These whole grain muffins, with chocolate chunks and a hint of espresso, will do just the trick.

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins have a complex texture and compelling flavor. The muffins are made with a combination of whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed, and rolled oats, which give a nutty, chewy texture to the final product. The muffins are not very sweet, with just a hint of brown sugar and sweetness from chocolate, but if you do prefer a bit more sugar, you can do as my boyfriend does and drizzle the muffins in a bit of maple syrup before taking a fork after them. A few chocolate chunks and a hint of espresso powder give the muffins all the flavor they need. This is a healthy and hearty alternative to the breakfast "cupcakes" out there.

One Year Ago: Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers and Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit Buttercream
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Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (53 grams) ground flax meal (or you can substitute all-purpose flour, if desired)
1/2 cup (40 grams) old fashioned or rolled oats
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (235 ml) milk
1/2 cup (85 grams) chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a muffin tin or line with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, oats, brown sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the egg, vegetable oil, and milk, mixing until the batter is evenly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Divide batter evenly between baking cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few oats on top, if desired. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve with a small pat of butter or spread of peanut butter.