Buttery Bran Muffins

Back to basics this morning with a simple yet delicious bran muffin. Nothing fancy, nothing weird.  Start with some wheat bran (obviously) and whole wheat flour for healthy whole grains. Add in some Greek yogurt and butter, a little sugar and an egg and you're basically there. I love experimenting with new grains so I used spelt flour for these muffins but regular old whole wheat would also work. If you have some raisins hanging around go ahead and add those in for a nice raisin bran muffin. I didn't have any in the pantry so I skipped it this time and they were still wonderfully delicious and flavorful. 

These muffins bake up tall and beautiful, just how I like my muffins! They are very light and tender, I couldn't at all tell that they were 100% whole wheat. The flax and coarse sugar on top is just the finishing touch to really make these humble muffins shine. 

 
 

Buttery Bran Muffins
Adapted from Serious Eats
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (27.5 grams) wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 1 1/4 cup (170 grams) spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) golden raisins, optional
  • Flaxseed and turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (177°C). In a large measuring cup, combine wheat bran and boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir in Greek yogurt and egg. Meanwhile, combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is incorporated, then add bran mixture and continue only until the batter is well combined. With a flexible spatula, scrape the bowl and fold the batter once or twice to make sure it's well mixed from the bottom up, then fold in the raisins if using.

Divide the batter between 8 lightly greased muffin cups. This is enough to completely fill each cup with a little mountain of batter, but do not be alarmed; it will rise significantly but spread very little overall. If you like, sprinkle with flaxseed and turbinado sugar, and bake until puffed and firm, about 16-18 minutes. 

Yields: 8 muffins

Cranberry Apricot Bran Muffins

I know it's Wednesday and I have yet to post something this week. I try to post a new recipe every Sunday but a lot happened in the last week and over the weekend so I just didn't get around to it! Big news: I've moved! While I've been in med school, I've been living with my parents in the suburbs to help save a lot of money. It's been good, and it was a smart decision, but I reached a point where I felt like it was time for me to move out once and for all. To be honest, I wasn't even looking for an apartment but the perfect place kind of just fell into my lap. In 2 days I'd signed the lease and started moving in. I've been in my new place for only a couple of days now but I am loving it! While all of this has been going on I also started working nights for a couple of weeks so I am really all messed up, but it's okay, especially now that I have my own place to come home to. 

I hope to put up a post soon to show everyone my new place and give more details about how it all happened so fast. Until then however, these muffins will have to do. I love me a good bran muffin, especially one that is heavy and hearty and dense (in a good way). These muffins are just that. They are definitely branny, just how I like it. There is not a lot of sugar in them, so if you have a big sweet tooth you may want to add a bit more for your taste, either that or add in some sweeter fruit. I used cranberries and some frozen apricots that I had, both quite tart and not super sweet. Some nice ripe strawberries or blueberries would probably help up the sweetness if that is what you're looking for. But whatever you decide, these are a great, hearty way to start off any day on the right foot. 

A little butter, a little sugar, a lot of bran and a nice amount of fruit all come together perfectly in these little treats. The original recipe called for oil, but I decided to swap it out for some melted butter. Seemed to work out just fine. Butter just seemed more "right" in these so I just did it. But if you'd rather use oil go for it. This recipe also called for citrus zest, optional but I highly recommend it. I really like citrus zest in my baked goods, especially orange zest, it really adds a wonderful flavor and brightness. I didn't have an orange when I made these so I used some clementine zest instead which worked well. I don't think it has quite the punch as orange zest, but it worked well in a pinch. All in all these are a great way to start off your morning with a little treat that actually feels like breakfast and not dessert.

Cranberry Apricot Bran Muffins

Adapted from 

Smitten Kitchen's

 Blue Sky Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) buttermilk 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 clementine (orange zest would be fine too), optional but highly recommended
  • 1 1/2 cups (90 grams) wheat bran
  • 1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2-4 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chopped mixed fruit (I used frozen apricots and frozen cranberries)

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees F and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Whisk buttermilk, egg, melted butter, brown sugar vanilla and clementine zest in a small bowl. Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix your fruit with 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir wet mixture into dry until partially mixed, then add in the fruit and continue to mix until just combined and still a bit rough.

Spoon batter into each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining sugar to taste. 

Bake muffins for a total of 14 to 16 minutes, rotating pan once midway through baking time for even browning, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

Yields: 10 muffins

Cranberry Walnut Bran Muffins

I love soft, fluffy, tender muffins, but I also love a good hearty and toothsome muffin. These bran muffins definitely end up in the latter category. Full of cranberries, walnuts, and bran of course, they are filling, satisfying and full of yummy bran flavor! With plenty of butter, and a good dose of sugar, it's not as though these are health muffins, but with all the bran, the fruit and the nuts I still feel pretty good about my breakfast when these are on the menu, and they are definitely worth having on the menu 

I really do like bran muffins, but a lot of the recipes I've seen call for all different kinds of bran, or bran cereal, stuff I never have, and never feel like buying. What I really liked about this recipe is that the only thing I had to buy was bran, just straight up bran. No bran cereals or anything like that. Since buying the bran I've found a lot of other things to add bran to, just to kick up the health factor a small notch. So I have to say that it is totally worth it to go out and buy a bag of bran for this recipe. It's all you probably need, and one bag will last you quite a while. Think of it as a good investment in your future baking endeavors!

Cranberry Walnut Bran Muffins

Adapted from

Sarabeth's Bakery

by Sarabeth Levine

Ingredients

  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 1 2/3 cup wheat bran (not bran breakfast cereal) 
  • 1 2/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild honey, such as clover or blended blossom 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush the insides of 10 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan. 

Whisk the bran, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar. Beat, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Add the honey and beat for 1 minute. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, beat in the bran mixture, alternating with the two additions of the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. Stir in the raisins. 

Using a 2 ½-inch ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded-side up, into the prepared cups. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are browned, and a wire cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. 

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.