I discovered yesterday that when confronted with too many fun size candy bars, the only way I can think to get rid of them is to coat them in sugar, butter, cocoa and peanut butter and eat them. I mean really, doesn’t that sound like the best thing to do with all those Snickers bars your kids picked up from strangers on Monday evening? Bake them into brownies? Maybe serve them with a scoop or two of ice cream? Way less harmful than, you know, just unwrapping and eating them.
But since I know many of you may have already thrown out or eaten all your Halloween candy, I won’t share that recipe today. (Okay, maybe I will. It’s right here.) Instead I will share something to help clear out all that sugar and fat that may be making its way through your system: raisin and bran muffins. Not raisin bran muffins, because they don’t have raisin bran cereal in them. They have raisins, and they have wheat bran. Big difference.
I don’t know what your experience with bran muffins has been in the past. I mostly think of leaden pucks of bitterness that I know I should eat because it is good for me. These are not those muffins. They are light and moist, slightly sweet with a little bit of chewiness from the raisins. I like them. I will definitely make them again. Probably the next time I o.d. on sugar but still want to bake something I can feel good about.
Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins from David Lebovitz
2 cups wheat bran
1 cup plus 1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
a few swipes of fresh orange zest
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin tin (with 1/2-cup indentations) with paper liners.
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.
While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup of the raisins with 1/2 cup 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.
In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, buttermilk or yogurt, 1 cup water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white. In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup raisins. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center. (Mine were done in 22 minutes.)