Tuesday, December 6, 2011

HELP WANTED!!!! Bran Muffins...

Okay, this is a turnaround day.

I need a great recipe for bran muffins. Something moist and chewy like the ones you BUY but that I can make.

Mine are always drier. Less springy. I don't care about the health side of all this, I just LOVE ME SOME BRAN MUFFINS!

Toasted? With butter?

Oh, yum.

Room temperature, eaten in smidge-pinches so I don't feel so guilty???

Oh, yum.

With or without raisins is fine. I've tried a gazillion recipes. (That may or may not be a slight exaggeration.)

None as good as Tops or Wegmans bakery bran muffins.

Is there a mix that's that good? Because if there is, I WILL BUY IT.

Just tell me where.

And because it's early, I'm about to have coffee to go with my "Help Wanted" Bran Muffin post. And can you just imagine how good that muffin would taste right about now?



  1. oh I have some good recipes for Morning Glory muffins. Will have to schedule a day to post them.

  2. YUM! Ruthy, do y'all have MiMi's Cafe there? They have the VERY BEST bran muffins. Oh my goodness. They're so gooey. I think they pour a honey mixture over the bottom that soaks in. I'd say just to go buy some. :)

    I actually love loaves of pumpkin bread and banana bread that I make from a mix. I'm wondering if they make a bran bread mix but can't find one online. In fact, I'm even having trouble finding the ones that I buy. I think they're Duncan Hines or Pillsbury, but I'm not sure. It's called Quick Bread.

    Good luck! The only ones I've made from homemade weren't very good.

  3. What is this thing..."mix"? For muffins?

    Muffin secrets to try:

    Measure your dry ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk them together to break down any lumps, combine them thoroughly, and add air.

    Instead of vegetable oil, use coconut oil. It's melting point is 77 degrees, so on cold days you may need to warm it in the microwave before measuring.

    I've gotten great results with my silicone muffin pan. Instead of paper liners, just spray a bit of non-stick spray in each muffin cup.

    After the muffins bake, let them cool in the pan for only 5 minutes, then remove them to cool on a rack. This helps prevent them from steaming in the pan and getting tough.

    For cake-like muffins with a fine crumb, forget the "barely mix" advice and use your mixer. These recipes use butter for the fat, and have you cream the butter and sugar together just like in a cake or cookie recipe.

    For traditional muffins with a chewier texture, combine your wet ingredients in one bowl and your dry ingredients in another. Then add the dry to the wet, and stir gently just until moistened (stirring allows the gluten to develop and makes the muffins tough).

    Here's a recipe to try (from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion - Ruthy, you need to get a copy of this book!):

    Raisin Bran Muffins

    1 cup milk or buttermilk
    1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup molasses
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    3/4 cup wheat bran
    1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
    1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached flour*
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 cup raisins

    In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, molasses, and brown sugar. Add the bran and oats. Set this mixture aside for 15 minutes to give the oats and bran a chance to absorb some of the liquid and become soft. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

    Whisk the remaining dry ingredients together thoroughly, making sure there are absolutely no stray lumps of baking powder remaining, and then stir the raisins into the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until blended.

    Spoon the batter into 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups filling each cup almost to the top. Bake the muffins for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed lightly in the middle. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

    *Whole-wheat pastry flour is made by grinding soft wheat (as opposed to winter wheat). It's available in some health food and whole food stores. The whole wheat flour doesn't absorb oil the same way unbleached white flour does, so even though you can use either one in this recipe, the unbleached white flour will give you a smoother texture.

  4. What great tips, Jan!! Thank you! I actually have some cute, snow-flake shaped silicone muffin "tins" that work great. I was so surprised the first time I used them. I thought for sure the muffins would be burned or stick. but they pop right out.

  5. I can't help you, Ruthy. But Jan's recipe sounds good. Oh, and I DO have a Mimi's nearby :-)

  6. Jan, thank you! I've seen people bragging on "Mimi's" online as I've hunted for a good recipe, but we don't have them here.

    And Wegmans and Tops bakeries have really good ones, but you know me... I love making my own. When time allows.

    So Jan, I will try this! And I'm hoping to love it. I'm the only one who eats the things, but oh... I just love them to bits.

    Jan, I love the tips. And those are tricks I employ (Jan's advice about treating them more like cake is sound if you like the cake-y versions most grocery stores sell. And I do. But I like hearty ones, too.) And Missy, I don't like the Quick Breads.... Dagnabbit. Krusteaz makes a couple of decent mixes for things, but I've never seen a bran muffin mix.

    I'll have to check out King Arthur's Flour BC... Jan, you're right, it sounds like my kind of book!

    Did I ever mention that I have a slew of antique cookbooks? So fun.... I have possum recipes.... squirrel recipes.... Plum custard.... when you read some of these you can't help but grin. Because, we are SO spoiled.


    I do cook venison. And Missy lives on squirrel and possum.


  7. LOL, Ruthy. Yep, you know me too well. :)

  8. Ah, I wish I could cook venison...but every time we move I lose my hunting friends :(. My dear husband has never hunted, and so, of course, the boys haven't either. I hope by next year we'll meet someone who can take my three guys out and teach them.

    The other problem is that here you don't just go out and get a license - there's a lottery, so even if you apply, you may not get a license every year.

    We did see a beautiful 8-point buck in our neighborhood a week or so ago...does hunting with a car count?

    Back to muffins - my favorite are blueberry, or bran, or cranberry, or chocolate...or whichever flavor is coming our of the oven :)

  9. You've got that right, Jan. Hot, sliced in half, with butter melting on each side.


  10. I love a good cranberry orange muffin...

    I could OPEN a Mimis' here. In my spare time. But I need some start-up money, huh?

  11. Ruthy - "spare time"? That's scarcer than the start-up money you'd need!

  12. I have a Randall's next door that's where I get them for work - they used to have a lot of them then I guess word got out and now they're harder to find than the lemon pecan ones. I like their muffins with hot tea - no butter (I think they have enough butter in them LOL!)

  13. I found a new favorite muffin flavor this autumn - pumpkin cranberry. YUM.

    Ruthy, I have a bran muffin recipe that a friend published in a cookbook (same one as the cinnamon bread). It's from a LI bakery called The Loaves and Fishes. *g*

    1/2 cup butter
    2 eggs
    1 cup molasses
    2 cups unbleached flour
    2 cups bran
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups yogurt
    1 1/2 cups raisins
    rind of 1 orange

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Combine butter, eggs, and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer, and blend well at medium speed. Add the remaining ingredients slowly and blend everything together. Don't overmix.
    Spoon the batter into muffin tins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Yields 18 muffins

  14. Jan, I knew you'd laugh at that! ;)

    Susanna, I hear you! I'm relegated to buying them often, well, not often, but when I want them and I'm not eyeing every carb with suspicion... :)

    And Mary, thank you! I'm clipping both of these and trying them. I'm so grateful for a couple of new ones to play with! You guys rock... and Teeeeena promised one too. And I know how to hold her hostage... It's NOT EVEN HARD because she's easy to make feel guilty.

    I love that in a person. Don't you?

  15. Mary, I saw that 1 cup of molasses in your recipe and about swooned!

    (at least I think I did - there was noise involved, though...)

    My dear husband's response? "Ooooh, molasses!"

    Yes, I'm going to have to try this one!

  16. Best of luck trying the recipe, Jan and Ruthy. I haven't tried this one, but absolutely everything else I've made from that cookbook has definitely been swoon-worthy.

  17. Ruthy,

    I know I'm WAY too late for this post, but I too have a weakness for bran in any form! I eat bran flakes every morning, and make bran muffins every 2-3 weeks in large batches, then freeze them. Allow me to share my favorite recipe...

    1 c. flour (We use Whole Wheat Flour)
    6 pkg. Sweet 'N Low (We use 8 packages, or mix it with Splenda or Stevia)
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 c. bran cereal (yum!)
    1 tsp. soda
    3/4 c. skim milk
    2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
    4 tsp. honey (We use 2 tbsp. Honey and no molasses)
    2 tsp. molasses (Didn’t use)
    1/2 c. mashed bananas (Or one banana (we have also substituted a half cup of pumpkin here and they are GOOD!))
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp. apple/pumpkin pie spice

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray Pam in muffin tin. In medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, Sweet 'N Low, baking powder and salt. Stir in the bran cereal.

    In separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk. Blend butter, honey, molasses, banana and egg. Combine with milk. Beat with fork to mix well. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Pour in liquid ingredients; stir quickly until dry ingredients are just moistened and mixture is still lumpy.

    Divide batter into muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
    Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes, then turn out on cooling rack.

    Makes 12 muffins with 100 calories each.

    Other notes: I don’t dissolve the baking powder. I do all my dry ingredients and all my wet ingredients separately and I stir as much as I want to make sure it’s incorporated well—it makes no difference in the baking that I can see. I also added Dates to the Pumpkin Bran Muffins--- SO GOOD! I double these batches, too, with no side effects. Enjoy!

  18. Whitney, these sound so good and healthy! Thanks for sharing!