Saturday, February 16, 2008

Really Delicious Bran Muffins

Quick - let's play the word association game. I say something and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Here's the phrase - bran muffins. So let me guess what you came up with - I'm thinking dry, tasteless, doorstop, heavy. Am I coming close? I know, delicious bran muffins sounds like a complete oxymoron but a couple of years ago I stumbled on a recipe in Greg Patent's Baking in America that has totally changed my mind on the subject. These babies are not just yummy, they are tender, moist and loaded with fruit. I tinkered with the recipe just a bit to add more spice so they are way too good not to try just because of the painful experiences you might have had with bran in the past. Here's the recipe:

1 cup unbleached flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup wheat germ
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups bran cereal (like All Bran)
1 cup raisins, dried cherries, or dried cranberries
1 large egg
1½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup applesauce or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
2. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the dried fruit and toss to combine.
3. In another bowl, beat the egg, then add the buttermilk, oil or applesauce, and vanilla and mix. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes to moisten the cereal. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees while the batter is standing.
5. Divide the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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