Today’s entry is in honor of the 13th Is My Blog Burning? event, in which a whole slew of food bloggers all submit entries on the same topic. This month, the theme is My Little Cupcake (or Muffin), and I’m taking the muffin route with this recipe for Buzzing Bran Muffins, adapted from my book Honey: from Flower to Table.
It wasn’t until I started researching recipes for this cookbook that I even contemplated the existence of a non-sucky bran muffin. Because really, most bran muffins totally blow. Could there be a muffin that was healthy without being a mouthful of sticks and leaves, moist but not oil-slicked, coffee-compatible but not achingly sweet? Muffins are lovely, but most cookbook (and café) versions are way too much like cake (all that butter! all that sugar!) for my tender morning sensibilities.
Using a recipe from New York City’s Cupcake Café cookbook as my starting point, I cut back on the oil, switched the molasses to honey, and generally tinkered around to get this final version. They taste a little like Boston brown bread or date-nut bread, and are delicious served warm with butter or cream cheese and apricot jam. The honey and buttermilk gives them a springy moistness that’s very pleasing, and they’re really good for you (lots of fiber and iron) without tasting at all didactic. Kids really like making (thanks to the goop factor) and eating these, especially if you make them in a mini-muffin pan lined with those cute little paper cups.
Alas, no photo, but take it from me, they're very, um, brown.
Buzzing Bran Muffins
First, grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Get out three bowls—a big bowl, a medium-sized one, and a smallish one.
The goopy mix:
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup dark, full-flavored honey or molasses
4 TB canola oil
1 cup raisins
In the big bowl, mix together and set aside for 5 minutes.
The dry mix:
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
In the medium bowl, sift or mix together well.
The wet mix:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
In the smallish bowl (or a big glass measuring cup) beat together.
Now, stir dry mix into goopy mix. Stir briefly, then add wet mix. Stir together lightly until just mixed. Fill muffin cups and bake 25 minutes or until muffins spring back lightly when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then serve or let cool on a rack. Makes 10-12 muffins.