What I Do For Love Bran Muffins

By • January 24, 2010 • 54 Comments

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Author Notes: One of my husband's favorite breakfast foods is a bran muffin. He had been buying them at the grocery store (ick). So I set out to make a bran muffin he would really like. I tried a bunch of recipes, but couldn't really capture the sweet moist character of a mass-produced muffin (even though mine tasted better and were certainly healthier). I found a recipe in "Cook's Illustrated" called Better Bran muffins (May 2007), and started making that one, with some variations. While I still use its not-so-secret ingredient--All Bran cereal-- I've modified the recipe to make it my own. My husband adores these muffins, so now I'm making them nearly every week. I call them "What I Do For Love" because when the muffin tin goes into the oven, there's a huge mess to be cleaned up--multiple ingredients to put away, many dishes to wash, a food processor to clean. But these are delicious and they freeze well. (And in the photo, the pumpkin seeds are a little dark because I overcooked them--oops!--they still tasted good!)drbabs

Food52 Review: WHO: drbabs, an optometrist from Huntington, NY who cooks up a storm of deliciousness in her spare time.
WHAT: A better bran muffin, created to cure her store-bought muffin-eating husband of his bad habit.
HOW: As drbabs mentions, these muffins are a bit of a process -- large bowl, medium bowl, small bowl, whisk, spoons, muffin tins -- but you would do anything for love, wouldn't you?
WHY WE LOVE IT: Light, airy, and chock full of wheat germ, All-Bran and other oldy and goody all-stars of the 80s health food movement, these muffins are a yummy and virtuous way to start the day.
A&M

Makes 12

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 cups All Bran cereal
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup raisins or sultanas, plumped in microwave (30 seconds) with 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup plain yogurt (don't use greek yogurt or the muffins will be too dense.)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Melt butter and allow it to cool.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toast pumpkin seeds on cookie sheet while oven is heating, removing them when they are lightly toasted and beginning to puff a little.
  3. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  4. Process 1 cup of All Bran cereal in food processor until finely ground, about a minute.
  5. In large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, clove, cocoa powder and wheat germ. Set aside.
  6. In medium bowl (see what I mean?), whisk eggs till blended. Add brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and orange zest. Whisk till mixture is thick, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter. Whisk to combine. Add yogurt. Whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and 1 cup of unprocessed cereal. Let mixture sit until entirely moist--about 5 minutes.
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently fold with rubber spatula until batter is combined and evenly moistened. Stir in raisins and juice if using.
  8. Using a 1/3 cup measure, drop batter into muffin cups forming soft mounds. Don't level surface. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over the tops of the muffins.
  9. Bake 16-20 minutes, until muffins are dark golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Jump to Comments (54)

Comments (54) Questions (0)

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4 months ago anita

A huge hit at my house. (1) Used less brown sugar than called for; (2) soaked both cups in buttermilk; (3) omitted yoghurt; (4) substituted dates for raisins, using same method of soaking in orange juice. Result: chewy, flavorful, not too sweet, good texture. Dutch cocoa adds lovely depth.

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5 months ago nannydeb

Hey drbabs! I made these with honey instead of molasses (which I didn't have at the time) and they came out great! Love 'em! Thanks!

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6 months ago Manhattan Tart

Used buttermilk and soaked 1 cup of All Bran in it (thanks, Bluemoom!) then added the remaining bran a minute before adding to other wet ingredients. I skipped the raisins (bleck!) and the pumpkin seeds (nut-hating children in the house) but went heavy on the molasses and vanilla. The texture is really nice & moist and the Dutch cocoa, though not readily distinguishable, adds a really nice depth of flavor. I'll happily make these again and add some walnuts for when my daughters aren't around. I (somehow?!) got 17 nicely-filled muffins out of this batch, using a #16 levered ice cream scoop.

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6 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So happy you liked it!

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8 months ago Blumoon

small suggestion that saves some clean up- use buttermilk instead of the yogurt and soak the all-bran in it for 15 minutes rather than processing it in a food processor. Add your liquid ingredients, mix and then add your dry. Love the cocoa powder- it adds richness!

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8 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Great suggestions. Thanks.

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about 2 years ago Mianna

Congrats on the win! These look wonderful. A great update on the recipe that was a basic for me when I learned to bake many years ago. We added walnuts to that recipe also. Love your changes and additions. Thank you for the inspiration!

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about 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Mianna!

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over 2 years ago ctgal

I needed to tell you that I made a batch of these muffins and I adore them! I froze most of them and just pop them in the toaster oven to defrost for a quick, delicious, and nourishing breakfast when I'm on the run, or just so totally sick of bran cereal that I can scream. Thank you so much! Fiber is my mantra!! (Yes, I know. Too much information.)

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you for letting me know! I'm so happy that you like them.

Stringio

over 2 years ago crazyblues

Made a special trip to get Bran cereal. TOTAL yum. Used buttermilk cause I didn't have yogurt. Filled 12 muffin liners. Nice and full, kinda overflowing. Kids will love them, I've been looking for some sweet snack for them to take to school that I can get behind... thankyou!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, I'm so happy you liked them. I made them this past weekend with my niece. They're good to make with children! Also was thrilled to find out that All Bran is no longer made with hi fructose corn syrup. So I didn't feel too bad about these. They're almost healthy! Buttermilk is a great alternative to yogurt. Thanks for letting me know that you tried them.

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over 2 years ago Midge

Congrats drbabs! I can't wait to give these a try.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Midge! I hope you enjoy them!

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over 2 years ago jenniebgood

Oh - and I meant to add (like Spork below), I sub buttermilk for some of the yogurt, because I find the batter to be extremely thick - is that your experience too?

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love the raspberry idea! and yes, the batter is very thick. That's why I suggest using regular yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, but I think buttermilk is also a great idea.

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over 2 years ago jenniebgood

Congrats Dr. Babs! - I have been using that recipe in CI since I first saw it - I never put that issue away! I've modified it several times myself, always with great results. Sometimes I use some applesauce, one time I used date paste instead of sugar. I always add raspberries to mine (I freeze fresh raspberries and they don't break up as much when added to the batter). Can't wait to try your version!

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over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congrats Drbabs - they look wonderful!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, KB!

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over 2 years ago ctgal

I must have missed them too! I'm the bran muffin lover and I (Surprise! Need fiber) have all the ingredients. Can't wait to make them! Tomorrow even!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Don't we all?! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago calendargirl

Ooohhh drbabs, I missed these the first time around, but have already inventoried the pantry so that I can make these asap. Congratulations!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, calendargirl! I hope you enjoy them!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Congrats drbabs! These sound delicious, looking forward to making them for my family!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, ginger root--I hope you enjoy them! And congratulations to you on the Whole Foods lentil contest!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you!

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over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats drbabs!! Can't wait to make these. Gotta get me some All Bran.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, mrs.L. I hope you enjoy and have fun with them.

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

YAY Dr B! You are the supreme baker and totally deserve this!!!!!!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, A, you are so sweet! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago arielleclementine

congratulations drbabs!!! richly deserved! i can't wait to try them :)

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, arielle. I don't even know how you have time to look at anything besides your wonderful and inspiring science! experiment. But I hope you enjoy them.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Congrats, drbabs! These muffins look fantastic!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Emily!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, everyone; this is a huge shock! Love you all!

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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

Yay drbabs! I love these!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks!