Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Basic Bran Muffins

Pity the poor bran muffin. Bakers often seem to assume it is the breakfast choice of the penitent, eaten solely as fiber delivery system. Even my beloved childhood bakery came up with a barely palatable fat-free version, composed of various whole grains shellacked together with a slurry of egg whites and honey. I was reminded of it the other day when I accidentally left the remains of a pot of hot cereal on the counter and it crusted over.

But these bran muffins, they are lovely. They take into account that you want toothsome whole grains (especially to counterbalance, say, the refried beans, cheese and guacamole that are also on your breakfast table), and have an almost nutty depth of flavor. But they're also moist and light. The molasses and honey add sweetness and depth, and the nutmeg, orange rind and buttermilk add flavorful notes to lighten up all that brown. I sometimes grate in a few carrots or an apple, or stud them with nuts and seeds if I've got em, but they're nice enough on their own. Especially with a nice spread of butter -- like I said, it's all about balance.

Bran Muffins

inspired by The New Laurel's Kitchen, but tweaked beyond recognition over the years
yields 12 large muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat bran
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp grated orange rind (optional)
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease or line 12 muffin cups.

Sift together the flour, bran, salt, soda and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange rind (if using), eggs, oil, honey and molasses until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dries, and mix until just combined -- do not over-mix. Divide among the muffin cups (they will be fairly full), and bake until a tester comes out clean, ~20-30 minutes.


  1. I can't stop making these muffins. It will probably come as no surprise to you to hear that it only takes us about 24 hrs. to eat the whole dozen.

  2. I enjoyed these muffins so much I came straight home and made a batch. They are so good. They will be part of my regular repertoire. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is my daughter's favorite snack. Really a perfect recipe.