Monday, June 27, 2011

How I Know I'm Getting Older: Bran Muffins

Today seems as good a day as any to talk about a sensitive subject that most of us would rather not admit we need....more fiber and-specifically-- bran muffins. If it helps, we can pretend it's just you and me here and we're old friends, ok? And I'm just telling you this because I need more fiber. It's ok--really. I need more fiber too.....

.....of course, I need more fiber because I'm growing a whole other human being in my body and you're just getting old and not eating enough pure foods but we won't get into that right now because I'm your good friend and I care about you, remember?

Bran muffins actually do make me think of my mom's mom. She had a stash of muffins in the freezer and would pull them out for her breakfast every morning. Once every few weeks, she whip up another huge batch and refill the freezer. I vaguely recall my grandfather, who hated all things healthy, rolling his eyes; some men cannot be regimented and my grandfather, with his walnut-crushing hands and his heart as strong as the engines of the railroad he worked for all his life, would take no taming. They don't build them like that anymore...

This batch is huge. It's intended to be mixed all at once and then baked off as you progress through your week. I did that for a couple of days; but then decided that that was more bother for me than worth. So I baked off the remainder of the batter all at once and now have a freezer full of bran muffins (and less excuse to keep eating strawberry pop tarts.) My nesting instincts require this sort of preparation but you can do what  you like. The one instruction I found for the batter as it sits in your fridge is that you aren't to stir it up as you go; but, rather, you are to ladle out the batter as you go.

There are, I might add, lower fat recipes for bran muffins out there. The recipe on the side of the box of Kellogg's Bran Flakes is a perfect example--replacing oil/fat with applesauce and buttermilk with skim and whole eggs with egg substitute. It's a good recipe; use it if you like. I prefer this one because, well, I have buttermilk and eggs and shortening laying about and this seems a perfect use. Motive can be a simplistic force at times, even for someone as brilliant as I.

Here's what you'll need:

6 cups bran flakes (you can use raisin bran if you like or add dried fruit to the batter alternatively)
2 cups boiling water

Stir these together in a large metal bowl. It won't look pretty but don't think about it, 'kay?

Meanwhile, in a mixer bowl, cream together

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses (or a mixture of molasses and honey)

Now add

4 eggs

In a separate bowl, stir together

the flakes/water on the left
the batter on the right
5 cups flour--either AP, whole wheat or a combo of the two (I used all whole wheat and they weren't remotely heavy, just so you know--it's a good disguise)
5 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Alternate adding the dry mix to the butter/sugar with 4 cups of buttermilk. At some point, scrape down the bowl with a heavy spatula to ensure a smooth mixture.
the full batter, ready to chill

This is a large mixture so instead of adding the flakes to the batter, add the batter to the flakes/water that is cooling off in the large metal bowl. Fold it all together with a large spatula.

This batter is now ready to go-either into the oven that's been preheated to 375 or into a container that fits in your fridge. The recipe I found says the batter should be used up with in a week but similar recipes I have found go up to a month of fridge time.  Play it safe, okay? And remember the rule of the kitchen: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.  

So there you go--a classic recipe really--and it can be our little secret.


Anonymous said...

MM...wish I could have one now!!! I love your nesting instinct, but I think you have it even when you're not prego. lol

Mrs. V said...

that's a distinct possibility hahaha