For those of you needing to add a little fiber into your life, here’s a recipe for Better Bran Muffins. I got the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, the PBS cooking show from the Cook’s Illustrated people. Now I know they’re not much to look at but they are good, moist (without being a grease bomb), and not too sweet. The molasses adds a nice richness without being overpowering. I used a Trader Joe’s cereal called High Fiber Cereal instead of the recommended All-Bran Original. I made the muffins once with raisins and once with dried cranberries; both are really good but I think I prefer the dried cranberry version. They freeze really well, too.
Better Bran Muffins
-from America’s Test Kitchen, Episode: Coffeehouse Treats
The test kitchen prefers Kellogg’s All-Bran Original cereal in this recipe. Dried cranberries or dried cherries may be substituted for raisins. Low-fat or nonfat yogurt can be substituted for whole milk yogurt, though the muffins will be slightly less flavorful.
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon water
2 1/4 cups All-Bran Original cereal (5 ounces)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2 1/2 ounces),
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (4 2/3 ounces)
3 tablespoons mild molasses (or light)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard-sized muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine raisins and water in small microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand, covered, until raisins are softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Transfer raisins to paper towel-lined plate to cool.
Process half of bran cereal in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Whisk flours, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk egg and yolk together in medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar, molasses, and vanilla; whisk until mixture is thick, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine; add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and unprocessed cereal; let mixture sit until cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some small lumps), about 5 minutes.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with rubber spatula until batter is combined and evenly moistened. Do not overmix. Gently fold raisins into batter. Using 1/3-cup measure or ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping batter to form mounds. Do not level or flatten surfaces of mounds.
Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs attached, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: For big, hearty muffins, fill the muffin cups to the rim. And for nicely domed muffins, mound the batter in the cups and don’t level it off.