How to make around 40 applesauce and oatmeal mini-muffins with a 1½-year-old
- 1¼ c (112 g) rolled oats
- 1¼ c (250 g) unsweetened apple sauce
- ¼ c (50 g) sugar
- ½ c (118 mL) milk (oat milk works too)
- 4 T coconut oil (melted butter works too)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 c (130 g) whole wheat flour
- 1 t baking powder
- ¾ t baking soda
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- ¼ t salt
- ½ c (80 g) raisins or sultanas
- Cooking spray or room-temp butter for greasing the muffin trays
- Two 24-count non-stick mini-muffin trays
- Scales or a measuring cup set
- Measuring spoon set
- Liquid measurement jug
- Medium mixing bowl
- Large mixing bowl
- Learning tower or a sturdy step-stool for the kid to stand on
- Aprons, ideally
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
While the 1½-year-old is playing with their toddler-sized soccer ball at your feet, take all of the ingredients and equipment out of the cupboards and grease the mini-muffin trays. To get started, pour the oats in to a medium sized bowl and pour the “dry” ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a bigger bowl.
Let the kid climb up on to the learning tower platform, and immediately recognize that starting with the oats was a mistake because they love oats. Try to prevent them from shoveling dry oats in to their mouth by giving them a spoon to stir with, and then realize that just compounds that mistake since they’ve recently learned how to use a spoon at dinnertime.
Switch the spoon out for your grandma’s 100% flat spatula to confuse and confound them (“…what on earth is this?”) while you measure out and pour the applesauce in to the oats. Let them lick the applesauce spoon, making them doubly excited about the mixture in the medium bowl. Remember almost too late that their Nana recently gave them a very cute apron, and manage to pull that over their head right before a glob of oats and applesauce dribbles off their chin.
Measure out and add the sugar to the oats-applesauce bowl. (That bowl is only becoming more and more exciting to the kid.). Then measure out the milk in to the jug and pour that in. Mix it up a bit to distribute the chill of the milk — because you learned last time that if you throw melted coconut oil directly on top of cold milk, it congeals in to one big lump — and then measure and add the coconut oil.
You could add the vanilla now, or you could forget it entirely because you hid the little bottle behind the fruit bowl away from cute grabby hands.
Add the egg last (adding it last means less likelihood of raw egg making its way into their mouth), then stir the oat mixture together thoroughly. Put the bowl aside, well out of reach.
Open up the raisins and put a handful on the counter to distract the kid. Fluff the dry ingredients in the big bowl together with a fork, and then pour in a half cup of raisins.
Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients while the kid absolutely houses the rest of the raisins, and then mix it all together with the spatula until combined.
Using the spoon you abandoned earlier, fill as many of the mini-muffin cups as you can. You want them each to be almost full, maybe seven-eighths of the way there. If you have any empty cups, use the kettle that’s always sitting on the stove to pour a little bit of water in them. You do this because someone once told you it protects the tray, but you have no idea if that’s actually true.
Part way through filling the cups, get the kid down from the learning tower because they’re bored and have spotted their ball again. Try to avoid having them step in the spilled oats and flour because it will stick to their feet and track throughout the apartment. Finish up the filling, then put the trays in the oven and bake at 375F for 15 minutes. Remember as soon as you’ve put the trays in that you always mean to put them on a baking sheet since it’s easier to take them out that way, and make a mental note (again) to do it next time.
When they’re done, let them cool momentarily in the tins to “loosen up” and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. Accidentally forget that the kid really loves muffins (why else would you be making them in the first place?) and belatedly realize that you’ve left an actual mountain of one of their favorite things out in plain sight. Blow on one frantically while the kid shouts “MUH-IN!” until it’s cool enough to eat.
Let the rest cool completely before storing them in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag in the freezer. I can’t say how long they keep, since we never keep them all that long.