Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Finally. A bran muffin I can get behind.
But really. As delicious as they are, they still fall squarely into the mid-week breakfast, guiltless toddler snack, "healthy muffin" category. Definitely not the "cream the butter with the sugar", unfrosted cupcake kind of muffin. With a 2:1 bran to flour ratio they also carry some heft, but I'm telling you, they're the best I've baked to date. Don't skip the sprinkling of sugar just before baking, and you kinda sorta have to plan ahead if you're going to make these, since the batter has to rest overnight.
Best Bran Muffins
from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
*Note: I skipped the currants entirely with delicious results.
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces/70 grams) dried currants
3/4 cup (6 ounces/173 grams) water
1 1/2 cups (7 1/4 ounces/206 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups (4 ounces/115 grams) bran, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium ripe banana
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 1/8 ounces/200 grams) canola oil
2/3 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces/63 grams) molasses
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Raw, granulated or crystal sugar for sprinkling
1. Combine the currants and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over med-high heat, and cook until very soft, 10-15 minutes. Reduce the heat as needed to keep the water at a simmer. Drain, transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temp. *As I mentioned above in my note, I skipped the currants and this step.*
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the bran and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium size bowl, mash up the banana (you should have about 1/3 cup) very well with a fork. Add the eggs, oil, brown sugar and molasses. Whisk the mixture until well blended, and then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla.
4. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in your banana-buttermilk mixture. Add the currants at this point if you're using them. Gently fold everything together just until everything is combined. If you over mix at this point, your muffins will be tough and rubbery.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.
6. When you're ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 375. Scoop the batter into a paper lined muffin tin, using about 1/2 cup batter per muffin. The recipe says this makes 12 muffins, but I ended up with 16. Sprinkle the tops with some bran flakes and a generous scattering of raw or granulated sugar. Bake for 24-26 minutes. They should be golden and baked through. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before attempting to take them out of the pan.
Best eaten the same day, but they keep for a day or two. I keep them through the next day and toss whatever is left into a ziploc bag and into the freezer. You can reheat at 12 second intervals in the microwave for a quick breakfast on one of "those mornings" or an afternoon snack.