Going back to my cooking roots, I decided to bake-up a batch of fruit-filled, Summer Berry Oatmeal Muffins with White Chocolate & Mint. Baking (and my sweet tooth) drew me into the kitchen from an early age. I loved looking through pictures in my Mom’s cookbooks, dreaming of what I could create. “Muffins & More,” by Company’s Coming, used to get a lot of use and is still one of my favourite cookbooks. The recipes are good starting points for creating your own. I adapted a basic muffin recipe to create these luxurious Summer Berry Oatmeal Muffins, bursting with juicy blackberries, subtly sweet white chocolate, and fresh mint.
Starting around Grade 7, (I’m not counting the gloop from younger days) I started to bake after school. It was my way to release hormonal energy and teenage anxiousness. I think I made almost every scone, muffin, and loaf in “Muffins & More.” Having the freedom to make what I wanted when I wanted really got me hooked in the kitchen. Learning from mistakes and experimenting with different flavours became natural. I remember hating to follow rules and recipes in Grade 8 Foods. I feel really lucky to have enjoyed cooking and baking from a young age.
Finding Inspiration in Cooking
I think a huge part of finding joy in cooking, is first finding inspiration. My motivation usually comes from delicious foods I’ve tried in restaurants or that other people have made. Now I’m trusting my instincts more and taking inspiration from the amazing local produce we have available in the Cowichan Valley. There’s nothing more enjoyable than playing around with fresh, in-season ingredients.
It’s fun to try new fruits and vegetables too, like I did with Hakurei Turnips. The next time you visit your local market pick-up something new and figure out how to use it – I promise it’s really fun! Yes I know I’m a nerdy foodie, and my perception of fun might be a bit different from yours, but new ingredients make cooking exciting and inspiring again. Try it and let me know how it goes!
The inspiration for my Summer Berry Oatmeal Muffins came from Beaches Grocery store in Tofino. When I lived there for two summers (nearly 8 years ago, yikes!), they carried the most glorious oatmeal muffins packed with berries and white chocolate. Although I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate, the way it melts and diffuses into the tender oatmeal muffin had me willing to add it into my own recipe. The sweetness also balances the tartness of fresh berries (especially blackberries and raspberries). Adding fresh mint came from a German friend, who unexpectedly added it to her muffins with amazing results. It’s something I wouldn’t have thought of myself, but the fresh, minty flavour is subtle and not too overpowering.
Tart, sweet, and fresh, Summer Berry Oatmeal Muffins are a perfect way to use all your freshly picked, or purchased berries. Remember to freeze some berries so that you can make these in the winter too, conjuring up memories of summertime. Enjoy!
I’m always keen to learn about your culinary adventures. Leave a comment below or tag your photos #eatsandadventures so I can see what you create.
Summer Berry Oatmeal Muffins with White Chocolate & Mint
A healthy and tender oatmeal muffin recipe that can easily be customizable with different berries. Bursting with juicy berries, subtly sweet white chocolate, and fresh mint, they're perfect summer eats!
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats + 2 tbsp (reserved)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour (if using frozen berries)
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves (thinly sliced)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
- Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Add the other wet ingredients, whisking until well combined. Add mint leaves to wet ingredients.
- If using frozen berries, gently toss them with the 1 tbsp of flour in a small bowl.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry, gently stirring together in a figure 8 motion. Add the berries and chocolate chips after completing a couple stirs. Keep stirring to a minimum, stopping once all the flour is incorporated and berries are evenly distributed.
- Grease muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups. Use an 8 muffin tin for larger muffins, or 12 muffin tin for smaller. Portion batter amongst muffin cups.
- Sprinkle muffin tops with reserved oats.
- Bake 12 muffins for 15-18 minutes, and 8 muffins for 18-20 minutes. They're done when golden brown on the top and a toothpick comes clean out of the centre.
- Allow muffins to cool 5-6 minutes in the tin before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to a month.