After belly-aching about it for a while I decided I could come up with a muffin bar that would be just as good (probably better) for the same amount of points. I looked at the ingredient list on the Quaker muffin bar box (and then wished I hadn't) to get a general idea of what was in them, and then started mixing up batches of batter. A few weeks later I had a healthy, great-tasting muffin thing that was way better than Quaker's ever was.
It turned out to be impossible to make a bar-shaped snack that was consistent in size--I tried several different ideas for shaping them--and ended up using my cookie scoop to drop the batter onto the cookie sheets. So instead of muffin bars they were muffin tops.
My original recipe was for Blueberry, and 1 muffin top made with my standard-size cookie scoop (about 2 TBLs) was 1 point, 2 muffins tops (about the same total amount of snack--maybe a tad more--as one of the Quaker muffin bars) were 2 points. I also used a big scoop, used for muffins and cupcakes (about 1/4 cup), and then they were 3 points each.
Once I had a working recipe I experimented with chocolate-chip, cranberry-orange, dark chocolate-apricot, dark chocolate-cherry, blueberry white chocolate-chip, and jam. They all worked really well; I especially love the jam ones. If you're counting WW Points (and these are the old Points, not the new Points Plus), they are all essentially the same, but you have to make sure you're scraping the cookie scoop level against the edge of the bowl and don't have the batter rounded at all (especially for the ones with chocolate chips). If you're not counting Points then it doesn't matter :)
These muffin tops are heavier than a typical muffin, partially due to the whole wheat flour and oatmeal in them, and partially because they need to cook without spreading all over the pan. Also, they freeze really well and make great breakfasts and quick snacks.
The recipe below is for Chocolate-Chip Muffin Tops. I'll put the changes for the other versions at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional info.
Chocolate-Chip Muffin Tops
1 cup all-purpose flour
1. Heat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until the batter comes together.
4. Use a standard cookie scoop to drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms are a lightly browned and the muffin top is set.
Makes 28 muffin tops. 2 muffin tops: 130 cal/3g fat/2g fiber/2 WW points
4 other variations:
Cranberry-Orange Muffin Tops: Omit the chocolate chips; Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped, the zest of 1 orange, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients. Replace 3-4 tablespoons of the buttermilk with orange juice.
Makes 28 muffin tops. 2 muffin tops: 127 cal/2.8g fat/1.8g fiber/2 WW points
Blueberry, Lemon, White-Chocolate Chip: Replace the chocolate chips with mini-white chocolate chips, and add 1/2 cup dried blueberries, chopped, and the zest of 1 lemon to the dry ingredients. Replace 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk with lemon juice.
Makes 28 muffin tops. 2 muffin tops: 134.4 cal/2.8g fat/2.6g fiber/2 WW points
Jam Muffin Tops: Omit the chocolate chips. Once the batter is dropped on the baking sheet, use a small spoon (I used a baby spoon) or measuring spoon to stick about 1/2 teaspoon jam into the center of each ball. You want to put it into the batter, not just put it on top. I've made strawberry, blackberry, and apricot; my favorite is blackberry. And use a good brand of jam because it will be thicker than a more inexpensive brand, and will run less as the muffin tops cook.
Makes 28 muffin tops. 2 muffin tops: 137 cal/2.7g fat/1.6g fiber/2 WW points.
Apricot-Dark Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops: Change the semi-sweet chocolate chips to dark chocolate chips, and add 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots to the dry ingredients.
Makes 28 muffin tops. I haven't figured out the nutritional info for these. It's probably super-close to the info for the Blueberry-White Chocolate Chip ones. And I count them as 2 Points for 2 muffin tops.
Here's a picture of everyone. It was a busy baking day :)
Notes: My kids don't love the texture of the oatmeal, so I pulse it a couple of times in my food processor. Also, spraying your knife with non-stick spray will make chopping the dried fruit a little easier.