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Bran Muffin Mania

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As a little girl growing up in Victoria, I remember regularly going to a “healthy” restaurant/bakery called Viteaway with my grandmother where she would buy me a “slug muffin”.  Though we called it a “slug muffin”, no slugs were harmed in the making of these oversized treats. These were sweet bran muffins topped with half a date that looked, to my imagination, like a slug and so they were named (not my greatest marketing moment).

While I was aware that bran was “good for me”, I enjoyed the crisp and crunchy top of the muffin, the dense, but fluffy, interior and the rich flavour of the molasses. The date (or “slug”) was an extra treat that I often kept until the end to savour the sweetness.

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Since then I’ve appreciated the delicate contradiction of an excellent bran muffin: healthy/tasty, sweet/savoury, light/moist, soft/crispy. My son also enjoys a bran muffin that is well balanced, especially if it’s crammed full of blueberries.

This recipe serves up all the key elements and is easy to tweak with different combinations of spices and fruits. I’ve started with the version that takes advantage of fresh blueberries and and warms up the flavour with Chai Spice.

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Blueberry Chai Bran Muffins

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg, beaten lightly

1 cup yogurt (or sour cream)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen)

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup wheat bran

1 tsp Chai Spice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in egg, yogurt and molasses
  4. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to the wet ingredients
  5. Stir in blueberries (if they are frozen, rinse them first with cold water to remove any ice crystals)
  6. Spoon the batter into a Perfect Portion Muffin Pan
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch
  8. Cool on a rack and enjoy

Variations

Ginger Raisin Bran Muffins

Substitute raisins for blueberries and ground ginger for the Chai Spice

Cranberry Bran Muffins

Substitute dried cranberries for blueberries and Pumpkin Spice for the Chai Spice

Kitchen Hack: plump up dried fruit for baking by covering with cold water in a small pot, bringing it to a boil and then letting them soak while you assemble the other ingredients. Add a cinnamon stick to the pot to add a bit of spice. The sweetened spicy water can also be used to thin the batter, if needed.

What is your flavourite fruit to add to bran muffins?

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