bran muffins

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Everything I eat is evaluated based on its ratio of nutrition to flavor. That sounds tedious but it isn’t. It’s really just answering one simple question that I think most of us ask before we dig in: Is it worth it?

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For example, macaroni and cheese: very indulgent, but also very delicious. Definitely worth it, at least once in a while.

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Raw carrots? Very healthy, but, eh, not my favorite thing to eat. I tend to ignore them unless there’s nothing else. But add some hummus, and you’ve increased the flavor significantly without decreasing the nutrition drastically, and hey, I’ll eat that.

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Sometimes I forget that something can be both ridiculously good for you and ridiculously good. And something like these muffins comes along, perfect in every way, both taste and health, and I’m oh-so-pleasantly reminded. Nutrition to flavor ratio? Off the charts.

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One year ago: Pain Ordinaire

Printer Friendly Recipe
Moist Bran Muffins
(from the King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking)

Makes about 18

Note that this is a two-day process, as the dough needs to set overnight before baking. Fortunately, at that point it can actually wait in the refrigerator for several days.

I’ve used both raisins and dried cranberries in these, and both are good. Of course most any dried fruit would work. I’ve also used clementine juice instead of orange juice, and that worked just fine.

¾ cup boiling water
1¼ cups unprocessed wheat bran, divided
¾ cup dried fruit, chopped if large raisins
¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2½ cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup orange juice

1. Pour boiling water over ¾ cup of the bran cereal in a small mixing bowl. Add the raisins, brown sugar and oil. While the bran mixture cools, blend together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Beat the egg with the buttermilk and orange juice in a large measuring cup. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ½ cup bran cereal, and then the bran-raisin mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Fill each cup two-thirds full. Bake the muffin until a tester comes out clean, about 23 to 26 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling, or serve warm.

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  1. Huh, I can’t find the iffy math 🙂 But yeah, I think about these things all the time (believe it or not). I look at your recipe, then at the lovely muffins: we have a winner! 🙂

  2. I did not do well with ratios in math, so while it might be iffy, it works for me!
    I love that these are actually healthy bran muffins… I hate it when they’re PACKED with butter, because it defeats the whole purpose!

  3. Love this recipe. I’m wondering if it would hold in the fridge as a batter. There’s an old-fashioned way of making “refrigerator muffins”–and they’re always made with lots of whole grains, buttermilk, and eggs. Something about the chemistry means the batter can sit for a few weeks in the fridge–and you can use it at will for a few muffins at a time. I’ll bet this would work that way.

  4. bridget says:

    Mark – It can. I’ve left it in the fridge for several days before baking. Very convenient, especially because these muffins are so good when they’re warm from the oven.

  5. Your muffins look great! Math, smath.

  6. What delicious looking muffins! My stepmom used to make bran muffins all the time but since I moved to NY I have not made them. I need to now!

  7. wow, these muffins sound and look so healthy. Now this will be on the top on my “will be trying” recipe list. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love a healthy muffin recipe! Can’t wait to give these a try – they look delish too!

  9. Melissa says:

    I love bran muffins…one of the few healthy things I love! I think these would be great topped off with some honey butter…not drenched, but a dab would do me good!
    Thanks for the great recipe…off to Trader Joes for the ingredients!

  10. So I guess this goes way passed the chocolate caramel crunch tart 🙂
    I also like to bake cookies with whole wheat flour. Still too rich for a regular day, but when you want to indulge a little, at least you are getting whole grains.

  11. This is such a delicious recipe that you are sharing.

  12. Cecilia says:

    These look great! However, it would be interesting to know the calorie/fat/carb ratios and that way know exactly how healthy these are…

  13. bridget says:

    Cecilia – I guess everyone has their own ideas of “healthy”. With 100% unrefined grains and less than half the fat of most muffin recipes, these pass with flying colors in my book.

  14. I can always use more fibre in my diet. 🙂