Saturday, March 23, 2013

Orange Bran Muffins

Brains....Branny, Beautiful brains!

Just me? Really? You don't see bunny brai....oh, never mind.

When I was in my teens, I used to love to visit my Grandma Mary and snitch every last one of her bran muffins. She always seemed to have a container of them, stuck behind the fruit bowl and if I sat at her kitchen table, I could sneak my hand back there and grab a muffin. Or three. Grandma wasn't a baker, per say, but she did have one small drawer in her little 1950's kitchen dedicated to her bran muffins, so I know she took them seriously. Bags of bran, half used bags of cereal, and boxes of dried out raisins. They were perfect. I never got her recipe, but I do remember that it involved bran cereal.

Probably thanks to her, I developed a love for bran muffins. They are always moist and sticky, and I just can't get enough. It's been years since I have been able to sample one of her muffins, and I finally decided to make an attempt to recreate her muffins at home. I didn't have any raisins, but I will add those next time.

The recipe I used came from Better Homes and Gardens, the red and white checked cookbook. I made a few adjustments, and I thought they came out really yummy! I replaced the buttermilk with orange juice, and the white flour with fresh ground whole wheat flour. I really like making mini muffins, so that's what I did here. Mini muffins can be eaten in a single bite, which means fewer crumbs on the floor. They also cook in half the time of normal sized muffins. If you'd like to make normal size muffins, or even jumbo, adjust the baking time accordingly.


Aunt LoLo's Bran (Cereal) Muffins
Makes 6 dozen mini muffins

3 cups bran cereal (such as Kellog's All Bran)
1 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (2 cups wheat berries, ground)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups orange juice (or liquid of your choice, being sure to include a little acidity*)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil

Grease 5 mini muffin tins, and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400.

In a small bowl, combine your bran cereal and boiling water. Stir to moisten everything, and then set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, then set aside. Make sure you get the baking powder and baking soda clumps broken up!

In a large measuring cup or medium sized bowl, combine your wet ingredients. Whisk to break up the egg yolks.

Add your bran cereal mush and your wet ingredients to the large bowl of the flour mixture. Stir until just combined, making sure to incorporate all of the flour. (This is where you could stir in dried fruit or nuts, if you like.)

Spoon your batter into your muffin tins, and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the largest muffin comes out clean. Awesome warm or room temperature.


*This recipe uses two leavening agents - baking soda and baking powder. The baking powder needs heat to work, which is why the muffins rise in the oven. The baking soda needs acid to work, which it would have gotten from the buttermilk in the original recipe. Orange juice is tart enough to make it go off, but a splash of vinegar or lemon juice in whatever liquid you choose would work just as well. Almond milk, soy milk, cow milk...probably even apple juice would be great! By using both leavening agents you get an initial fluff from the baking soda, and the last bit of oomph from the baking powder. This keeps these muffins from being too dense.