Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Your Bran Muffin

       It's chilly and overcast this morning and kind of nice to be lazying around inside. I have a marvelous few days off work right now and am trying to sort through my mental list of all I'd love to fit in this free time before work again. This begins to be trouble for me as I somehow manage to create a list of things impossible to accomplish in even a month's time, much less 4 days. Knowing this of myself, I woke this morning determined to chill. I will enjoy this day and its passing moments as opposed to racing the clock to fit in everything I'd like to. Not everything has to be done today, I remember my grandpa impressing on me once. So much to learn...
      Well, once awake and after the morning play with puppy, first things came first: I was hungry and something needed to be done about breakfast. Presently tired of the uber-sweet confections I've been indulging in lately, and needing a bit of fiber in my life, my mind arrived at this bran muffin. Have you had a great bran muffin before? There are some bad ones out there for sure. And then there are these. You really will love them. Five reasons: One, they're quick and easy to make. Only about 20-30 minutes total for prep and baking. And, I tried to whittle it down to dirtying only two bowls. Two, they're good for you: high in fiber (~5g); some good protein if you add nuts; and the ground flax seeds aid in digestion and lowering bad cholesterol, as well. Three, they're delicious, especially straight out of the oven with a bit of butter and honey drizzle on top. Four, they're versatile as can be, one of my favorite things about them and why this is titled your bran muffin. If you want them plain, leave 'em plain. Nuts? Toast some and toss 'em in. Dried fruit? Totally. Need your chocolate fix in the morning? Absolutely, yes. You can satisfy friends and family alike by simply splitting up your batter and adding desired ingredients to each bit. And five, the batter can be covered with saran and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks, so you can mix up the batter and enjoy a few muffins now-and-then for the next month. Genius. Ok, enough blabbing. I already had 2. Go make some! Just make sure you have a bathroom somewhere nearby (What? I'm a nurse. I can say these things.). And enjoy this day.

gathered from several recipes over the past few years
yields 20-24 muffins

3 cups unprocessed wheat bran, like this one, divided
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
*optional add-ins to total 2-4 cups:
1 cup nuts, toasted
1 cup dried or fresh fruit (i love a blueberry bran muffin)
2 mashed/chopped ripe bananas
1 cup mini chocolate chips
the zest of an orange is a nice addition, too, especially with dried cranberries


1. Grease muffin pan and set aside. 
2. In small bowl, combine 1 cup of the bran with 1 cup boiling water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes. 
3. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, mixing in vanilla at the end. 
4. Add moist bran to butter-sugar mix in the large bowl. Now use that now empty small bowl to beat your eggs (if you haven't already) and add them to the large bowl.
5. Pour all remaining ingredients into large bowl, then stir together until well combined. 
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before baking for best marriage of ingredients (though you can bake immediately, as well. they just won't be quite as great. i find they're best when the batter's left in the fridge overnight.). Batter will keep refrigerated in sealed container for up to 4 weeks. Bake for 15-18 minutes in 400F oven. Let cool for 5 minutes then enjoy!

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