July 24, 2009

Raisin Bran and Berry Bran Muffins

"Good" is probably not the first word that comes to mind when people think of bran muffins. I'd venture a guess that "cardboard," "health nut," and... umm... "cardboard" come to mind prior to and often in place of the word "good." But these bran muffins are really good.

They aren't like the bran muffins at the bakery, which can be loaded with sugar and they aren't like the ones at my school, which I thought were healthy but then realized were around 450 calories; the freshman 15 didn't seem so mysterious after that. Instead, they are a hearty, modest, not too cardboard-y, not too greasy, not too sugar-y breakfast treat.

The yogurt in the recipe takes the place of a fair amount of oil and the mashed banana adds a natural sweetness with a barely discernible amount of banana flavor. These muffins don't turn gummy after a few days, which as I said before, often happens when applesauce is substituted in baked goods.

As usual, I made two varieties. I just couldn't help myself and it seems I never can. Choose one, or both, or play around with the recipe on your own adding any mix of dried fruits, nuts or berries you want. Whatever you do, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Bran Muffins
Adapted from a variety of sources but mostly Bobs Red Mill
makes about 8 muffins

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 oat bran [I think wheat bran would also work well]
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 "flax egg" (one tablespoon ground flaxseed whisked with 3 tablespoons hot water)*
1/2 cup low or non-fat plain yogurt (greek yogurt also works well)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
3 tablespoons neutral oil
1/4 cup milk of choice [I used light vanilla soymilk]
raw sugar for sprinkling

*creates a consistency just like a real egg- weird

Then I split the batter in two to test out a raisin and a blackberry version. Both came out very well. For the raisin version I added about a 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup raisins and for the blackberry version I added 3/4 cup blackberries. Remember these additions are to only half the batter.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil 8 muffin cups. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Then incorporate your choice of mix-ins. [Or split the batter in half and make two versions like I did]. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter evenly into the 8 prepared muffin cups [I filled each one almost to the top]. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 minutes.

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