I'm not even sure I can describe what makes these muffins so great - slightly chewy, a bit sweet, sort of buttery tasting? It's the same phenomenon that's going on in soaked oatmeal pancakes, so I'm guessing it originates with the soaked oatmeal part. The muffins certainly don't look promising and delicious, but they are.
I also really like how plain these muffins are. Sometimes I just want a straightforward thing that doesn't have a spice or an herb or small pieces of something that I have to peer into my cupboards and fridge to find and chop. Then I can pair these muffins with cheese, or marmalade, or any kind of fruit or yogurt that's on hand. I think I might even eat these with soup, in the funny Mennonite way that I was raised (is it just Mennonite moms who serve raisin bran muffins with vegetable soup? Shudder).
Also, as muffins go, these are pretty easy-peasy. Marion Cunningham doesn't even warn you to stir them together briefly and gently the way you are supposed to handle most muffins and quick breads, so I've made them for breakfast in a rush and they've still turned out great. We all love them.
Irish Oatmeal Muffins - tweaked a bit from Marion Cunningham in The Breakfast Book
Combine and allow to stand 6 hours or overnight, room temperature:
2 cups buttermilk, kefir, yogurt/milk
1 cup rolled oats
When ready to bake, add the following to the oats mixture:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (if you don't have dark brown, cut back a little and add a dollop of molasses)
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil or melted butter
Mix wet mixture well. Separately, stir together:
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Stir into oats mixture until completely combined. Spoon batter into muffin tins (lined or greased) to 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 15-17 minutes, until top is springy when lightly touched. Makes 20 muffins. Eat warm, or freeze when cooled.