Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Deep Dark Secret (Bran Muffins)

I have a secret. I eat it every day. It's good with a little butter (or a healthier choice of spread) on top and a cup of coffee to wash it down. It's dark and moist....and a good source of fiber. If you can't guess, it is, in all of it's deep, dark, flavorful, healthy goodness...a bran muffin.
Oh, but not any bran muffin. According to it's name, it is a Deep, Dark, Old Recipe Bran Muffin. So, I'm letting you in on my little secret. Which is now no longer a secret, seeing as I'm sharing it with the whole world of potential blog readers (and, since it was posted on Allrecipes.com was never really a secret to begin with...but that's beside the point, right?)...
Anyway, the reason that I eat a bran muffin everyday has a lot to do with my mother. She inspires me in many ways, not the least of which (though most are of far greater importance!) is my choice of breakfast. For almost as long as I can remember, my mom has eaten a bran muffin and yogurt for breakfast. Sometimes it accompanied coffee, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes the muffins were homemade, sometimes they were not. Sometimes the yogurt was a certain variety of Dannon, sometimes it was not, but whatever brand it was, it was always peach in flavor. When I was young, probably 12 or 14, I remember having a "from scratch" recipe for bran muffins and I made them for my mom often. I'd usually make a good sized batch and then freeze them so my
dad could simply defrost one each day for Mommy's breakfast. I think now my dad makes them from a Sun-Maid mix, but they are bran muffins just the same! I for one, have never been a very consistent breakfast eater. At least since I started working when I was about 16. Sometimes I'd have cereal, sometimes fruit and toast, sometimes just a cup of coffee and sometimes I remember folding a piece of bread over some peanut butter as I ran out the door! I drank smoothies at college, and last year I ate cereal or had a bagel most days. But last fall, after talking to my mom (a very wise lady, by the way) about healthy habits to get into I did two things. I joined our local gym and started eating a bran muffin and yogurt for breakfast. And to my surprise, I loved it! I found a great and simple recipe (the Deep Dark Secret) that was much like the one I used to make from scratch and am delighted to find that, 4 months later, I'm still not bored. Now, unlike my mom, I like to mix up the flavors of my yogurt, but that's all in your preference. It is a great healthy and fortifying, yet light way to start the day. Often in the mornings, when I eat my muffin (and especially when my yogurt happens to be peach!) I think about my mom, and I am grateful to her for always being such a good example!



Now for the muffins! The first thing I usually do when I make them is to make some "buttermilk," or in my case, "sour milk." I usually don't keep buttermilk on hand, so when I make something that calls for it, I make my own using a trick I got out of a cookbook awhile back. To make sour milk, all you need to do is put a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk in the bottom of your measuring cup, then pour in the milk to make the amount of "buttermilk" you need. I do it first off because it has to sit for 5 minutes to sour. While the milk is souring, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350!


Next, whisk the bran, flour, salt and baking soda together. The recipe said whisk, which is funny with dry ingredients, but it works really well to mix the bran and the flour together. Set the dry ingredients aside. Now here's your chance to really use that whisk!



In another bowl, beat eggs then add the other ingredients one at a time, beating after each, except the raisins.



I kind of tweaked the recipe from it's original state to include vanilla and cinnamon because I think it adds a lovely bit of flavor! If you don't like it, however, leave it out!


Now get out that wooden spoon! Add the bran mixture to the wet stuff, adding the raisins as you go. If you're a big raisin fan, you're welcome to use more than a half cup. Mix it all until there are no more dry lumps, then fill greased or papered muffin tins about 2/3 full. I can usually get about 20 muffins out of 1 recipe, but if you make them bigger, you'll probably get 16-18.


Bake for about 18 minutes or until they are not wet inside, then cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. If you like, they freeze very well in a Ziploc freezer bag.
Whether you eat them every day or whip them up for a special breakfast or a change in your routine, I'm sure you will enjoy these dense, moist muffins, savoring the knowledge that you're doing something healthy too!


Deep Dark Old Recipe Bran Muffins
(printable version)
tweaked from Allrecipes.com
makes about 20 muffins

2 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or sour milk)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 tbsp shortening, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more as desired)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins


Preheat the oven to 350.
Next, whisk the bran, flour, salt and baking soda together.
In another bowl, beat eggs then add the other ingredients one at a time, beating after each, except the raisins.
Add the bran mixture to the wet stuff, adding the raisins as you go. 
Mix it all until there are no more dry lumps, then fill greased or papered muffin tins about 2/3 full. I can usually get about 20 muffins out of 1 recipe, but if you make them bigger, you'll probably get 16-18.
Bake about 18 minutes. Cool a few minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

3 comments:

  1. This looks awesome Jenn. This is something I keep forgetting to find a recipe for, because I enjoy muffins in the morning. However, I think I would leave the raisins out. Dried up grapes freak me out, lol :)

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  2. I made these this morning and they are super yummy! Thanks for posting this so I could steal it from you :)

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  3. Thanks so much! I've been looking for a really good, chewy, moist, dark bran muffin recipe, and this looks like just the thing. I made some last week out of raisin bran, and they were light and cake-like. Good, but not what I was looking for. I'll try this, asap!

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