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Author Notes: Bran muffin recipes using bran cereal sometimes get a bad rap because of the added sugar in the cereal and the use of a processed ingredient (rather than unprocessed bran). But there is something special about the texture of muffins made with cereal, and for the past few years I've been playing around with the recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. I like my breakfast pastries to have fruit and a certain whole-grain heft, so I added a ripe banana, cut into chunks rather than mashed, as well as whole wheat flour and ground flaxseeds. The craggy-topped muffins with chunks of fruit have a rustic look but are surprisingly light and just sweet enough that you can add some jam without it being too much. You can vary the recipe by substituting grated apple for the banana and adding some cinnamon. Note that the batter should be refrigerated at least overnight before baking but will keep covered in the refrigerator for a week. As the KAF folks point out, you can scoop and bake as much as you need and have fresh muffins throughout the week. —Kaja1105
Makes 12 small or 6 large muffins
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 cups bran cereal (not flakes--I used Nature's Path Organic Smart Bran), divided
- 1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup raw turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup muscovado or dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground (or a heaping 1/3 cup flax meal)
- 1 very ripe banana, cut into chunks
- Place 1/2 cup of the cereal into a small mixing bowl and add the boiling water. Allow to cool, then add the canola oil and egg.
- While the water-bran mixture is cooling, whisk together the flours, raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Measure out the buttermilk in a large measuring cup and add the muscovado sugar, stirring with a fork or small whisk. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups cereal and then the softened bran mixture. Add the ground flaxseeds and the chopped banana. Refrigerate the batter in a covered container overnight.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. To give these rustic muffins a crustier bottom, I recommend baking them in a greased muffin tin, but you can use paper liners if you prefer.
- Stir the batter a couple of times (the flaxseeds give it a somewhat gelatinous texture, but this is normal), then scoop 1/4 cup of batter for small muffins or 1/2 cup for large muffins into each muffin cup.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes for small muffins or 30 to 35 minutes for large muffins, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Cereal
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