Thursday, March 1, 2012

three bran muffins

La Brea Bakery was the overwhelming winner!

Ready-bake Bran Muffins
Sunset Magazine

3 c. all-bran cereal
1 boiling water
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. raisins
1 c. sugar
2 ½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
2 ½ c. flour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cereal (bran) and water. Stir until evenly moistened. Set aside to cool. Add eggs, buttermilk and raisins; mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, sugar and flour. Gently combine dry ingredients with wet. Do not over mix.

Bake in buttered muffin tins for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Serve hot with butter. Because you can.

Bran Muffins
slightly adapted fromLa Brea Bakery

2 cup wheat bran
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (120g) buttermilk or plain low- or non-fat yogurt
a few swipes of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
1/2 cup (105g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 Cup Pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin (with 1/2-cup indentations) with paper liners.

2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.

3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, buttermilk or yogurt, 1/2 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar.

5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.

6. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the blueberries.

7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.

8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.

Better Bran Muffins
from Cooks Illustrated

1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon water
2 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) All-bran cereal
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons light molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups plain whole milk yogurt

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) 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.

2. 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 and homogenous, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine; add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and remaining unprocessed cereal; let mixture sit until bran cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some small lumps), about 5 minutes.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Gently fold raisins into batter. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.

4. Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out with just few crumbs attached, about 16 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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