In the weeks leading up to what I fondly called Babygeddon, I went on a bit of a crazy cooking and baking spree getting meals prepped and into our freezer. I had purchased too large a carton of buttermilk when I made Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken, and wanted to use it in some healthy muffins. I turned to Smitten Kitchen and her recipe for Blue Sky Bran Muffins caught my eye. I don’t mind bakery bran muffins, but they’re always LOADED with tons of added sugar – so much so that I actually always find them to be really sticky and gross from all the honey, juice, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and of course sugar in the actual batter too. I was looking for a recipe that wasn’t going to give me cardboard muffins, but also not have so much sugar that I might as well have eaten a donut for breakfast. This seemed like a great compromise, tasting much more like real breakfast than a treat. Here’s the recipe!
- 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) buttermilk (you can also use sour cream or yogurt thinned with a little milk)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) oil (such as vegetable, safflower, sunflower or olive oil)
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract, a little citrus zest (optional flavorings to add)
- 1 1/2 cups (90 grams) wheat bran
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 to 1 cup chopped mixed fruit (just about anything but citrus or pineapple will work, they say; I used frozen mixed berries for this batch here)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Whisk buttermilk, egg, oil, brown sugar and any vanilla or citrus zest you’d like to use in a small bowl.
- Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.
- Spoon two 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 2 teaspoons fruit to each (dividing it evenly) and sprinkling the fruit with one of the teaspoons of granulated sugar.
- Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit and sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining teaspoon of granulated sugar.
- Bake muffins for a total of 16 to 18 minutes, rotating pan once midway through baking time for even browning, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin.
- Do ahead: Muffins keep for 3 days at room temperature, longer in the freezer.
NOTE: This recipe makes about 12 standard size muffins (use a cupcake tin, not a jumbo muffin tin).
These, like any baked good, are best eaten the day-of, but they also freeze well. The top won’t have that semi-crunchy texture to it, but you can pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds and it is still as moist on the inside as the day it came out! These definitely made my list of go-to muffin recipes, and I’m excited to try it with some other fruit!