These are my favorite bran muffins. The recipe was sent over by my friend Nancy who dubbed them "bakeshop quality" and compared them to those of a muffin store called Little Miss Muffin. I don't think I've ever tried anything from Little Miss Muffin, but the muffins are moist and perfectly sweet. Also, they have just the right amount of oil to keep them from being too greasy or too dry. They a little bit grainy, but not to the point where they taste overly healthy. It's the good type of "grainy" I guess.
The recipe is adapted from Marcy Goldman, an accomplished recipe developer and author who also happens to be known for her famous “Lawsuit Muffins”. The original recipe appeared in Cook's Illustrated in September 1993.
Favorite Bran Muffins Tips
- My muffins are usually done in exactly 20 minutes. If you find yours are not done in 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 and keep baking at a lower temp. If you know your oven runs how, you may want to bake for only 15 minutes at 400 and then turn down the heat. The point of starting in a hot oven is to get a nice crown.
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If the batter is cold, the carbon dioxide has to work harder to push the batter upward. Also, room temperature ingredients blend better.
- The batter needs at least a few hours in the refrigerator – preferably 8. This is actually a good thing because you can make the batter the night before and make the muffins fresh in the morning.
- The recipe makes about 20 very large muffins, which is way too many for me these days even though they freeze well. I've posted the full recipe, but it's easy to "third" since it calls for 3 eggs.
- If you don't have any wheat germ, you can substitute with more bran.
Here are some pictures of my favorite bran muffins without crowns. This batch was a little flatter because I didn't pile the muffin batter into the cup. I also threw in some bran cereal which kind of weighed things down. For a high capped muffin, everything has to be perfectly balanced.
Favorite Bran Muffin
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (350 grams)
- 4 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons honey (40 grams)
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 cup light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons packed firm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon maple extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons butter extract optional
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup wheat bran not the cereal
- ½ cup whole dates plumped with scalding water, drained, and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dark raisins plumped with scaling water (optional)
- Whisk first five ingredients together in a bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk next 7 ingredients together. Whisk in eggs, followed by the buttermilk, wheat germ, and bran. Let batter rest 10 minutes.
- Whisk flour mixture into egg mixture with a heavy duty scraper or rubber spatula, making sure that ingredients at the bottom are incorporated into the batter. Fold in raisins and dates.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or for a minimum of 1 hour).
- Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners – you’ll probably only need 20 out of the full 24.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins filling to the top. Put a little water in the 4 empty cups
- Bake muffins for about 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Stick a skewer in one muffin to see if it's cooked through, and if not, reduce oven heat to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. In addition, make sure the tops aren't browning too quickly. If tops are browning, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top and reduce heat to 350 as directed.
- Let muffins cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pans