I have a sweet spot in my heart for bran muffins.
As a child, for some reason beyond me, my mom would stow away bran muffins in the freezer. We had a discount bakery outlet near our house, every once in a while she would get a dozen bran muffins and pop them into the freezer. I remember sneaking into the freezer and pulling out a rock hard individually cellophane packaged pre-made bran muffin. I would not-so-gently tear into the package, place the muffin in the microwave for 30 seconds and then go back to watching Saved by the Bell or some other engrossing show on Nickelodeon with a muffin frozen in the middle but scorching hot around the outside. It was a ritual, done the same each time.
I was not a very active child, I watched a lot of television while eating junk food. I am making up for it in my twenties. Things seem to balance out over time. I still love a good bran muffin, these days I trust very few packed pastries or store bought muffins. I am on the search for the perfect bran muffin.
This morning I got out of bed and headed straight for the kitchen with a mighty muffin purpose. I had to bake bran muffins. I am going to find the perfect ratio of bran to moisture with a hint of sweetness, and raisins, then I am going to squirrel them away in my freezer and enjoy half frozen bran muffins whenever I want. I am weird. J is pretty *meh* on the idea of bran muffins, I am sure he will opt for a egg sandwich while on the way to a bike ride in 30 degree temperatures this morning. This just means more for the freezer to toss in the microwave later, we don't have a TV these days, the one missing piece. I am totally okay with that, I have moved on to coffee and books instead of sitcoms.
After making spelt bread last week I had a couple cups of spelt flour lingering in the pantry. I know that I like my bran muffins a bit heartier than cake so I substitute spelt flour for the all purpose flour and I loved it. I don't think I will use white flour in a bran muffin again.
Moist Spelt Bran Muffins
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Makes 12 muffins
Soaking the wheat bran in buttermilk prior to mixing the bran in the dry ingredients creates a lighter texture that is often lacking in other bran muffins.
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup raisins or cranberries
3/4 packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line or grease a 12 - cup muffin tin.
2. Mix the buttermilk and bran in a large bowl and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk in the applesauce, raisins, brown sugar, egg, butter, molasses and vanilla.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Gently fold the flour into the wet ingredients until just combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle come out clean. About 20 minutes.
Michelle Stiles writes at The Beauty of Life
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