15 April 2014

Foodie Tuesday | 'Old Timey' Bran Muffins

Sometimes healthy eating is a tough sell. If you're under the age of 25 or my mother, outright rejection of all that is good and healthy in the world of food is the norm. Which is why when I strike on a recipe that have the kids coming back for more (and then back again... and AGAIN), I stick with it.

Such is the case with these bran muffins. Granted, there's a ton of sugar, and probably more fat (in the butter, and buttermilk) than *technically* constitutes "super-healthy."

But dudes... it's BRAN.

As in, FIBRE.

We're talking good ol' fashioned regularity here, folks. Not a topic kids (or parents, for that matter) are super-chuffed to chitchat about, let alone actively manage.

So bran muffins that kids race - literally, race - home to eat? Amazeballs, in my book. And in theirs, too. Doesn't hurt that it's my Nanny's recipe, too. Keeping good health in the family, one muffin at a time.

Preparation: 40 minutes + 24 hours| Cooking Time: 35 minutes | Makes: approximately 50 muffins
  • 2/3 cup wheat germ
  • 3 cups natural bran
  • 3 cups All Bran
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
Optional -
  • 2 cups raisins OR chopped dates
Cooking Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together wheat germ, natural bran and All Bran. Add boiling water. Mix and set aside.
  2. In a second bowl (medium-sized) combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the largest bowl you can possibly find, cream together butter and sugar (brown and white) using an electric mixer on low. Add molasses and mix until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add buttermilk and blend thoroughly until a little frothy.
    Side Note | I'm concerned what you heard me say here was "In a large bowl..." when what I really mean is: the LARGEST bowl. As in, like, EVER. You're going to end up with 15 cups of batter, so plan accordingly.
  4. If you're adding raisins or dates, now's the time to toss them in the bowl.
    Personal tip: I like to make a batch of all three (I figure if I'm committing to 50 muffins in one go, I might as well mix it up a bit with flavours.) With 15 cups of batter, I divide it evenly into three bowls and add 2/3 cup raisins to one, and 2/3 cup chopped dates to the second. I leave one plain. If making all one flavor, add 2 cups of your dried fruit of choice.
  5. To the liquid mixture, gradually beat in flour mixture (I generally add 1/4 of the bowl at a time, then beat until thoroughly combined before adding more.) Stir in bran-water mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Cover batter bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
    Rumour has it the batter will keep for up to six weeks in the fridge, but I haven't tested it. Except maybe mustard and maple syrup, I wouldn't trust anything in my fridge after 6 weeks, but you're free to try if you want. Bottom line is: chill for 24 hours and then you're good to go.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or spray generously with cooking spray. Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter.
  8. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Now might be a good time to crack open one of those bad boys and slather it with butter, before inhaling it in 2.4 seconds... but maybe that's just me. 
In case you thought I was kidding when I said "lots" of batter (and hence you need "the LARGEST bowl", this is how much batter you'll wind up with.

Also? These little babies are completely, totally nut-free, so they're the perfect sweet'n'healthy snack for kids' lunchboxes (which, if you're having the same experience I am, are growing increasingly difficult to fill with accepted foods.) These muffins = problem solved!
Other Foodie Tuesday baking recipes you might like: