I am still a little surprised at the deliciousness of these. I had some pumpkin to use up, I bought some wheat bran I wanted to try out, and I had the urge to prepare something healthy, and I think I hit the jackpot with this recipe, which is pretty good for you — the chocolate chips are MINI, to MINImize the unhealthy aspects of them — and tastes just wonderful, with a soft & fluffy texture.
The first step was interesting: I combined the wheat bran and the buttermilk, and stirred until it started to look like something a cat would puke up, then let it sit for ten minutes. (No, the recipe didn’t say it would look like cat vomit, nor was I ever inclined to let cat vomit sit for ten minutes, back when I had a cat and she vomited.)
I also melted the butter, so it would cool in time for use. While the bran/buttermilk was sitting and the butter was cooling, I got the dry ingredients together. I used whole wheat white instead of straight whole wheat, and added baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. I doubled the cinnamon (and then some), and used a little more ginger than suggested. I try not to improvise when it comes to cloves, which can be overpowering if you’re not careful.
At that point the required ten minutes had passed, and I retrieved the cat vomit mixture to add in the rest of the ingredients. I hit a snag immediately: I thought I had enough pumpkin left for a whole cup of it, but I didn’t. Our grocery store had already closed. What to do? I topped up the measuring cup with just enough applesauce to get the measurement right, and hoped for the best. Then I added in the egg, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and melted butter. (I left out the raisins, as I find them unpleasant in baked goods.)
It was looking a little icky, but I knew that would change, especially after I added the mini chocolate chips.
Action shot! Plus bonus robot bottle next to it. Also, the other crap I have on my counter on a busy Monday night. Oops.
I whisked it all together.
And then added the dry ingredients, being careful to mix just until incorporated, and not a moment afterward.
I started with the mini muffins, and I admit things looked a little rustic. Maybe even lumpy. Rustic is nicer, though.
And when they were out of the oven, they still looked rustic, but smelled fantastic.
I managed to get 9 full-sized muffins from the rest of the batter, and popped those into the oven. Oh, and I did my usual muffin trick on both sizes, preheating the oven to 25 degrees higher than the recipe says, then lowering it right after the muffins go in. I also didn’t need as much baking time as the recipe suggested, just a few minutes shy for each.
Both sizes turned out great. Really delicious, soft with a nice crumb, not dense at all, with the mini chips providing just the right sweetness without overdoing it. A new staple for sure. (Also, it turns out they are my boss’ favorite. Funny!)
My version of Mini Pumpkin Bran Muffins with Chocolate Chips (adapted from All Day I Dream About Food)
1 1/4 cups reduced fat buttermilk
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 – 1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 400F and generously grease 24 mini-muffin tins and 6 regular muffin tins. Or use just the 12 larger muffin tins.
In a large bowl, stir buttermilk and bran together and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin, chocolate chips, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, molasses and vanilla.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Gently fold flour mixture into the bran mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared tins, to just the top of each tin. Put the tray with the full size into the oven and reduce temperature to 375, then bake until tops are set and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes. Once done, bake the mini-muffins at 375 for 10 -15 minutes.
Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool another 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 24 mini muffins plus 6 regular muffins, or 12 regular muffins.