We like our bran muffins dense and grainy, so these days I almost always use recipes that call for wheat bran rather than bran cereal. I used to buy it in the bulk section, but our grocery store moved it to the baking aisle where it’s now sold in a Hodgson Mill box. At first I was bummed because I couldn’t buy a few cups at a time, but it all worked out because the big box of bran is now in my freezer and ready when I need it and the box has tons of great recipes on the back. “Oven Ready Bran Muffins” was one of them. It’s the kind or recipe where you make the batter, bake as many muffins as you need, then store the batter in the refrigerator.
These muffins are definitely less like cupcakes and more like the hearty, grainy, breakfast muffins you buy at a coffee shop. They’re not as rich as some of the bran muffins I’ve made (including the Claim Jumper clone muffins which are really sweet, but good), but I wouldn’t call them dry, either. They do benefit from the addition of dates, though. Raisins, figs or dried plums would be good, too. I wish Fuzz felt the same way, but she prefers hers plain or with a little icing. She had one again this morning and commented on how good they were, so I guess this recipe is a keeper. Here’s my take on the original.
Oven Ready Bran Muffins with Walnuts and Dates
- 3 cups unprocessed wheat bran Hodgson Mill
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup brown sugar I used a mixture of light and dark
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoonss of vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Chopped dates use more or less as needed
- Toasted and chopped walnuts use more or less as needed
- Optional: Quick icing see note
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line as many muffin cups as needed with paper liners. The full batch makes about 24.
- Combine 1 cup of the bran and 1 cup of the boiling water.
- In a separate bowl blend sugar and butter (I used a handheld mixer for this and creamed the two). Beat in vanilla extract.
- In another bowl or on a sheet of foil, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Combine the moistened bran with beaten eggs, the remaining 2 cups of bran and buttermilk, then stir it all into the creamed sugar/butter mixture. With a large mixing spoon, stir in the flour mixture.
- Place in the refrigerator for future use, or bake at once.
- To bake, divide evenly among muffins pans or stir the batter before baking and use however much you need. At this point, you can also stir in dates and walnuts.
- Fill the muffin pans almost to the top and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then spoon icing over the top if desired.
- Store any leftover batter in an airtight container.