So these muffins were a nice surprise…pretty good!  They are healthier than others – packed with bran, whole grains, fruits and nuts.  Not too sweet, these are truly meant for breakfast.  I did the math and there is about 1 teaspoon of butter in each muffin – making these a decent choice for an afternoon snack for you or your kids – or really for everyone.  I warned tasters that these are healthy and “wheaty” and they all liked them – Sylvie, Greg, Andy, Zach and Lauren!  I liked them too 🙂  The addition of chunky bananas, soft raisins and toasted walnuts add a lot of flavor, texture and moistness to these little brown muffins.  An oh, they are best warm out of the oven.  Next time, I might try the same base – but substitute apples for bananas – and add a little cinnamon too.  With the raisins and nuts – really – any fruit will do.  This made about 24 muffins.  As usual, you can cool, wrap and freeze some – to re-heat each AM for a long lasting breakfast treat.  Enjoy-

bran muffins with fruit and nuts (slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa At Home):

2 cups wheat bran (mine was coarse but any will do)
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
1/4 pound or 1 stick butter, room temp
1/2 cup light brown sugar – lightly packed
4 extra large eggs – at room temp
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups raisins
2 cups diced banana – cut medium dice (2 bananas)
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (if time)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toast walnuts for 5-9 minutes – until fragrent and lightly toasted.  Set aside to cool.  Wash then zest your orange.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Line muffin pans with liners.

Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside.  In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle on high speed for about 5 minutes – until light and fluffy.  Scrape and mix again.

On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time.  Scrape and mix again.  Add the molasses, orange zest and vanilla.  (The mixure may look curlded at this point but that is OK.)

Add the buttermilk/bran mixture and combine on low speed.  Then add the dry flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until justcombined.  Do not overmix.

Remove from teh mixer and fold in teh raisins, bananas and cooled walnuts.

Fill the muffin cups full and bake for about 24-29 minutes – until a toothpick comes out clean.

When you can handle the muffins – pull them from the pan.  I recently read that it is better to let muffins cool outside of the pan so that they don’t get condensation and moisture build up from the heat.


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