I made these because Nathaniel, my ten-year-old, wanted bran muffins. “No chips,” he said, which disappointed me a little; I have a slight obsession with cinnamon chips, which is apparently shared by absolutely no one else in my household. And lord knows I wasn’t going to use raisins, because raisins in baked goods are just gross. I have some pretty solid bran muffin recipes in my repertoire already, but I wanted to try something new.
I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest a few days ago, but didn’t make it at the time because I’d run out of wheat bran and was feeling too lazy to go get some more. Instead I whipped together an apple cider spice bread. It looks good, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it didn’t taste very good. It didn’t smell that good, either; too much applesauce. It was that overabundance of applesauce that ruined the texture and the flavor too, and I should have known better. Nobody else even took a bite, and I don’t blame them.
But I still wanted to try something new, so when I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest I gave it a shot. I liked that only had only a quarter cup of sugar, and would also conveniently use up some of the pumpkin I had left over from last week’s delicious Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread. But no chips meant no chips: I’d have to rely on something else to give it some flavor.
I changed up the recipe a little, reducing the oil, substituting some yogurt, and throwing in a little vanilla in addition to some extra spices. And then I sat back and waited for Nathaniel to get home from school and give me his verdict. The kid does not hold back. They looked promising enough, though, and the boy didn’t wait more than a minute before grabbing one off the cooling rack.
The kid LOVED them. Both kids. More kids, in fact, because Juliet brought a friend home from school and they couldn’t get enough of them. Who ever heard of kids asking for more bran muffins? (I did! Today!)
These won’t disappoint. The pumpkin keeps the texture moist, the spices add depth to the flavor, and they make for a perfectly satisfying breakfast or snack. The paper was still a little sticky the day they were made, by the next morning, it came off easily and the muffins were still perfect.
MOLASSES BRAN SPICE MUFFINS (adapted from Mmm. . .is for Mommy)
1 1/2 cups natural wheat bran
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used sucanat)
1/4 cup molasses
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla crush (extract or bean paste would work just fine)
1 cup whole wheat white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees — you will reduce the temperature later – and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with cups or spray.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bran and milk until well mixed. Set aside to rest for a few minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and molasses until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the pumpkin and vanilla and stir well. Add this mixture to the bran and milk, and stir well.
Separately, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until combined.
Scoop batter into muffin tins. I ended up filling them up pretty high, instead of getting extra muffins.
Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 400 and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine were done at 14.)
Let sit in the pan for 5 more minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.