September 19, 2011

Breakfast of Champions: Bran Muffins

I don't know about you, but the bran muffins I generally encounter are either a) so sugary that there is no way there is enough "bran" in them to constitute the title or b) so dry I almost choke on my breakfast.  Luckily, I have found a lovely compromise in Heidi Swanson's recipe from her latest cookbook Super Natural Every Day. I follow Heidi's superb blog pretty religiously and am always inspired and awed by her use of interesting ingredients in her creative vegetarian meals. I hadn't yet purchased her cookbook (you can see at the right that I already have a problem with cookbook collecting), but when I found myself with some time to kill in our local bookstore, I couldn't help but get sucked into her gorgeous photographs and recipes.  I bought the book on the spot.
The recipe that really caught my attention was her Bran Muffin recipe.  I already new I had some buttermilk leftover from the biscuits I made for Dinner Club, and the rest of the ingredients I was pretty sure I had in my pantry.  With Sam at school all day, I figured I'd get cracking on these beauties and leave him a surprise afternoon snack. They were a huge hit, and the perfect size.  And if I were you, I would definitely heed Heidi's advice and serve these warm with just a slab of salted butter.  Not a bad way to start off your morning! Now, if only I could live every day super naturally...

Bran Muffins
Adapted slightly from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day
Makes 12-15 muffins

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup barely melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened bran cereal (I used kashi)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and maple syrup. Sprinkle the bran and cereal across the top, stir, and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Immediately fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake for 18 minutes, until the edges of the muffins begin to brown and the tops have set. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out the muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.

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