Saturday, February 11, 2012

Best Banana Bran Muffins

I like to try new decadent desserts for my husband and I, but I try to keep these spaced out, so that we're not eating dessert 3-4 times a week, which is unfortunately just what happens when a dessert yields numerous servings.  I needed some baked items that I could insert into the weekly menu, and/or stick into lunches that were healthy AND tasted good. 

I had purchased a big ole' 2-lb bag of wheat bran at a local mill, because it was such a good price, and I needed just a little to make some bread recipes for Mellow Bakers.  So finding excellent wheat bran recipes seemed like a good place to start.  I really needed ways to use up that abundance of wheat bran in the fridge.

Well, one of the very first recipes I tried turned out to be a winner.  I've tried several other recipes since, but none came close to being as moist and decadent, in a healthy sort of way, than this one.

The recipe is from a cookbook I bought from Amazon a couple years ago, The Essential Eating Well Cookbook.  I own several of the Eating Well cookbooks and this one is currently my favorite.  The Banana Bran muffin recipe is on page 301 of the book and w/ just one small change, this has become one of our favorite muffin recipes.  In fact,  I get a craving for these muffins quite often, and not just when I'm feeling guilty for consuming half of a chocolate bundt cake and/or dinners numerous nights in a row with heavy whipping cream in them.

Banana-Bran Muffins
adapted just slightly from The Essential Eating Well Cookbook

2 large eggs
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purposed flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
         (the original recipe calls for optional chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, oil and vanilla.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Stir in the cinnamon chips.  Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Note: They will be pretty full.

Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown (which is kinda hard to tell) and spring back when touched lightly, 15-20 minutes.  I also usually insert a cake tester to make sure it comes out pretty clean.  Be careful, as these muffins can go from perfect to a smidgen overdone in a short amount of time.

Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, before loosening the edges and turning muffins out onto a wire rack to cool.  Since its just my husband and I, these muffins can last us numerous days and still be fine.  However, during the warmer summer months you may want to refrigerate these, as they have gone moldy on us before.  (We always give them a quick zap in the microwave before consuming.)

Now, these aren't drenched in chocolate, nor is their any caramel, heavy whipping cream or garnishes involved, but these are highly delicious and my hubby is always very happy to see these in the kitchen!

Therefore, I highly encourage you to give these a try, and don't skip the cinnamon chips, as I think they are crucial to the final outcome;)

1 comment:

  1. You could also try substituting sugars with agave syrup, that is good as sweetener. In that case, don´t forget to add some more flour, to balance dry and wet ingredients. Anyhow, brown sugar is also a OK for me.