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Bran Muffin - Give me your best!

this place by my office makes delicious bran muffins - moist, flavorful, slightly honey flavored. I would add raisins myself, but for a dollar, I'm not going to be picky. I'd love to make them myself, but don't want to buy a whole box of all-bran just to male one batch of muffins, which is what cooks illustrated would have me do. Please, any ideas? Thank you!

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  1. I'm a fan of these bran muffins from erstwhile CH poster dixieday, which are sweetened with honey: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3306...

    1. I've tried many recipes but I always gravitate back to this one that I got from my grandmother, circa 1970s. She was a notoriously awful cook and essentially hated food so I'm not sure where this recipe came from. We were absolutely stunned when we showed up at her house and she gave us these muffins. She was an artist and possibly bartered for them but nevertheless....

      San Clemente Bran Muffins

      2.5 cups brown sugar (can use less or substitute some portion with honey)
      2.5 c. whole wheat flour
      2.5 c. white flour
      5 tsp. baking soda
      2 tsp. salt
      1 15oz. pkg of raisin bran cereal
      1 qt buttermilk
      3/4 c. vegetable oil
      4 beaten eggs

      Mix dry ingredients. Add oil, buttermilk and eggs. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before baking. Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tcamp

        this must make a ton of muffins!

        1. re: magiesmom

          It does! The batter keeps nicely in the fridge for a week or so, or the muffins themselves can be frozen.

      2. A local grocery used to make moist bran muffins; the label indicated that they used prune puree. But when they switched to more expensive 'designer' muffins, I sought to make my own. What I ended up doing was start with a pumpkin bread recipe, and replacing the flour with a mix of whole grain and nut flours, and reducing the sugar. I use for example half white whole wheat flour, and split the other half among ground almonds, oat and wheat bran. Rolled oats also work well.

        Health food stores (and sections of groceries) might have wheat bran in their bulk grains section. Trader Joes sells a nice oat bran. I haven't bought all-bran cereal in years.

        With your own quick bread or muffin recipe, you can easily add solids like chopped walnuts, raisins, and diced dates (usually sold with an oat flour coating to reduce sticking), as well as flavors like molasses, ginger, cinnamon, etc.

        Fruit and vegetable purees give breads like this a moist texture. Think for example of banana bread. Canned pumpkin works well, as does cooked and mashed hard squash of your choice. Sweet potato also works. With purees the fat (butter, oil) can be reduced, even omitted.

        11 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          I'm a big fan of fruit purees in muffins and prune tops the list for bran muffins.
          On the back of the bran box is the best bran muffin recipe. The brand I'm referring to is Hodgson Mill unprocessed wheat bran (Millers bran). Foolproof, moist and super easy.

          1. re: HillJ

            I like this recipe from Kim Boyce's book Good to the Grain which includes a puree of prunes simmered in OJ: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Oh and I happen to have half a sack of amaranth flour looking for a purpose! Tyou.

              1. re: HillJ

                FWIW, I thought the amaranth got lost amongst all the other flavors and if doing again I'd increase it to 1 cup and decrease the WW to 1 cup to give it a greater presence.

            2. re: HillJ

              date puree is pretty terrific too (and cuts down on the need for added sugar).

              also, i personally think a really good bran muffin *must* have molasses.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I've noted both of your comments alongside the recipe. Thank you.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Date puree - isn't that sugar with a bit of added fiber? :)

                  How about date molasses? I've seen in shops, but haven't bought it yet
                  http://hyphenatedchef.com/uncategoriz...

                  1. re: paulj

                    all fruit puree is "sugar with a bit of added fiber." but the particularly high sugar content of dates is precisely why i said you can cut back on any other added sugar in the recipe ;)

                    i love the flavor of date molasses but it's expensive, and not all that easy to get your hands on unless you have access to a good specialty or Middle Eastern market.

                2. re: HillJ

                  i'm a big fan of date puree. adds a lovely sweet moisture... brown sugar-ish. last year during date season, i did a round of date bran muffins using date puree (from matured shriveled dates) and chopped fresh dates.

                  ETA: oops missed ghg's post. she beat me to it ;)

                  1. re: Emme

                    great minds as always, Emme. BTW, i'll be back in LA permanently next week!!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      welcome home!! ;)

              2. Our family has tried several Bran Muffin recipes and always come back to our tried-and-true, as found on the side of the Quaker Unprocessed Bran box.
                Recipe as follows, my notes in parentheses and following the recipe.

                UNPROCESSED BRAN BRAN MUFFINS
                1/4 Cup vegetable shortening (note: Crisco. We often did an 1/8 C Crisco, 1/8 C Applesauce)
                1/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
                2/3 Cup milk
                1 egg
                1/4 Cup molasses (Note: brands do seem to make a difference. We will use only "Grandma's Unsulphered")
                1 Cup all purpose flour
                1 Cup Quaker Unprocessed Bran
                1 tablespoon baking powder
                1/4 teaspoon salt

                Beat together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in milk, egg, and molasses. Add combined dry ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill 12 medium-sized greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in pre-heated hot oven (400 degrees F) about 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

                (My notes, again: I calculated per muffin, 97 calories, 5 gr. fat, 1.85 gr of fiber. If substituting 1/8 Cup applesauce, 79+ calories, 3 gr fat, 1.9 gr fiber. I'm sure at some point we have experimented with adding a 1/2 of a mashed banana or something to get "Banana Bran Muffins," but I will leave that leap to your creativity. Enjoy!!!)
                Florida Hound

                1. I make these by the double batch and stash them in the freezer. A minute in the microwave and breakfast is ready. They are just lightly sweet and very moist, but be careful not to overbake. I keep powdered buttermilk on hand so I never have to worry about having/buying/tossing out cartons of fresh.

                  Banana-Bran Muffins
                  makes 12

                  2 eggs
                  1/3c. sugar or other sweetener
                  1c. mashed ripe banana
                  1c. buttermilk
                  1c. unprocessed wheat bran
                  1/4c. coconut, canola or other oil
                  1t. vanilla
                  1 1/4c. whole wheat flour
                  1/2c. AP flour
                  1T. ground flax
                  1 1/2 t. baking powder
                  1/2 t. baking soda
                  1/2 t. cinnamon
                  1/4 t. salt
                  1c. berries (I use the frozen mixed berries from Costco or fresh when in season)
                  nuts if desired

                  Whisk eggs to break up, then add sugar, banana, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add wheat bran and let sit a minute or two to soften. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in berries.
                  Portion into muffin cups and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes.

                  adapted from Eating Well

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: splatgirl

                    Splatgirl, how much powdered buttermilk to how much water for this recipe, and how else do you use the powdered buttermilk. I've aquired some recently and I'm not sure what to do with it

                    Thanks!!

                    1. re: Chookums

                      My Darigold canister of dry buttermilk says 4T to 1c water.

                      As long as it is dept dry and powdery, it can be added to the dry ingredients, and water added to the wet. No need to reconstitute it first.

                      In a recipe like this, using a fruit puree (which is somewhat acidic), and both baking powder and baking soda, the amount of buttermilk powder is not critical

                      1. re: paulj

                        Thnaks Paul!

                  2. I will be looking at postings. A good bran muffin is very hard to find. I am quite a good baker but never like any bran muffin I make. In particular I dislike the muffins made with Bran cereal. I like a moist bran muffin that is not heavy. Hope to see if you have luck getting a good recipe.

                    1. Does anyone remember the bran muffins that The Great Canandian Soup Company made (in the 80's) ? The absolutely BEST bran muffins ever!
                      They were moist, light, fluffy, slight hint of molasses. I would give anything for a recipe that came close .

                      Any Canadians out there who might be able to help?