[Photograph: Carrie Vasios Mullins]

When I sat down to write about these mini muffins, I couldn't decide whether to describe them as hearty or light. I'm aware that these two descriptors are diametrically opposed, so by default the muffins must be one or the other. Hearty or light. Light or hearty? Why can't I choose?

I think it's because the little one-biters are pretty light in texture as muffins go. There isn't any butter in the recipe, which lightens things up considerably (I find too much butter or oil is one key part in the downfall of heavy, dense muffins). Instead, I use a combination of milk and sour cream, which results in muffins that aren't dense or greasy at all.

But to keep them from floating away, I added quick cooking oats at about a 1:1 ratio with white flour. The oats add texture and a light nutty flavor. (Texture + nutty flavor signals hearty in my book. See my problem?) Oats also impart some nutritional points, which isn't a bad thing at breakfast. Still, I couldn't help but add some chocolate chips, which make these little guys just sweet and chocolatey enough to be enjoyable. In fact, feels like the perfect holiday-hangover breakfast.

About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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