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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Leftovers: Turn cooked oatmeal into … cinnamon coffee cake muffins

Cooked oatmeal is one ingredient of cinnamon coffee cake muffins. (Julia Ditto / For The Spokesman-Review)
Cooked oatmeal is one ingredient of cinnamon coffee cake muffins. (Julia Ditto / For The Spokesman-Review)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

I regret to inform you that we are into January, the month infamous for giving all of humanity a giant, collective guilt trip. If December is a starry-eyed, happy-go-lucky elf, then January is a merciless boot camp instructor berating the human race for having pants that fit too tight.

And if you’re anything like me, you are feeling a serious need to buckle down a little bit, to eat right, exercise and moderate – all words that I don’t particularly care for except maybe “eat.”

When I am being extra health conscious, I eat hot cereal for breakfast. Oatmeal, 10-grain cereal, boiled wheat – it doesn’t matter because the pioneer blood flowing through my veins means I love it all. Some of my kids, on the other hand, do not share my enthusiasm.

A couple of them would rather go to school hungry than eat a bowl of oatmeal (and they have). My good-natured 14-year-old son will do literally any awful job we ask of him, but eating a bowl of oatmeal is where he draws the line. He simply won’t do it.

Needless to say, some mornings after the kids are all out the door, my pot is still full of a fair amount of abandoned oatmeal. Little do my kids know that while they’re at school, their mom is turning the detested breakfast into a delicious and fairly healthy snack in the form of cinnamon coffee cake muffins.

Perfect for early mornings or afternoon snacks, these hearty and delicious muffins use two cups of leftover cooked oatmeal, although any kind of hot cereal will work.

And while they aren’t firmly situated in the “health food” category, cinnamon coffee cake muffins are several steps up from palming a fistful of Hershey kisses into your mouth first thing in the morning, which I may or may not have done several times throughout December.

If you’re really feeling the January boot camp burn, you can make these muffins truly waistline-friendly by swapping applesauce for the butter, cutting the sugar down to 1 cup and using whole wheat flour instead of white.

No matter what substitutions you make, I promise that these muffins will go fast, and even the staunchest of oatmeal protesters will love them. And you can tell January to leave its guilt trip at the door. You’ve got the “eat healthy for breakfast” thing covered.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins

Adapted from

1/2 cup butter or applesauce

1 1/4 cup sugar (cut this down to 1 cup if using applesauce instead of butter)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups cooked hot cereal, cooled

1 1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or add paper liners to a muffin tin.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 1 minute on medium speed.

Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.

Add in remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat, or your muffins will be tough.

Fill muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Makes 12 muffins.

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