Special equipment: 12-cup standard muffin tin, rimmed baking sheet
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the rolled oats, creme fraeche, milk, and butter with a wooden spoon until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together and stir into the oat mixture. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cherries and continue to stir until well combined.
2. In a separate small bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir until well mixed. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet oat mixture. The batter will be gloppy. Transfer the batter to an airtight container and place in the fridge. Let the batter sit for at least 8 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C, and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the cups of the muffin tin with paper liners, coat liberally with nonstick spray, or butter and flour them. Spoon about 1 cup/240 ml of the batter into each muffin cup, filling it all the way to the brim and wa-a-a-y over. (It will seem like there's too much batter for the tins, but if you want the characteristic muffin top you need to overfill them. You can make smaller muffins if you prefer and reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes.) The batter will be stiff and firm.
4. To make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins and place the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then remove the muffins from the pan.
5. These muffins taste best the day they are made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you keep them for longer than a day, refresh them in a 300 degrees F/150 degrees C oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week. Reheat directly from the freezer in a 300 degrees F/150 degrees C oven for about 10 minutes. Cranberry Variation For a winter version of this addictive muffin, substitute 1 1/2 cups/150 g chopped fresh or frozen cranberries for the cherries. Proceed as directed.
At Flour, we offer a range of muffins that vary with the season. In the spring you might see raspberry-rhubarb; during the cool fall months we feature roasted pear with ginger. These seasonal muffins are made with a simple standard muffin batter that we've used for years and that I share in my first book, Flour. A while back we wanted to introduce a new muffin to the mix-something that was a bit heartier and maybe even healthier, with an emphasis on whole grains. Brian, one of our pastry chefs, offered up this recipe, which we've tweaked over the years to make it ours. I didn't realize how beloved it had become until Flour was published. In between raving about their success with baking cupcakes and homemade Oreos, readers bemoaned the absence of this recipe and made many a desperate request for it. I'm happy to oblige here.
Recipe from Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories (c) 2013 by Joanne Chang Reprinted with permission by Chronicle Books