Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Blueberry-Bran Muffins


It's been a pretty good week here in the Midwest. I got to see the Eclipse (more on that soon), I finished my first chapter of my next book, I've been more mindful, and I've made it two weeks now on my jump back up on the wagon of health. I mentioned, a few weeks ago, about how I had backslided and was going to start counting my calories and getting regular exercise. Well, I have and when I stepped on the scale this morning, I've lost a total of seven pounds!

In my conscious effort to get healthier, I've been making sure to buy more fruits (along with the plethora of veg I always buy) and blueberries are one of them. I had this lovely container of blueberries and, since I'm not a huge fan of plain blueberries, I had a hankering to make some blueberry muffins. I also had two overly-ripe bananas perfect for baking, so I thought of a way to merge the two. 

One staple in my house is wheat bran. Yes, wheat bran. It's very cheap -- I can usually buy a large bag for under a dollar -- and I use it to make vegan sausage. It's also great for adding into any kind of baking, so I started thinking about incorporating that as well. Ultimately, I decided on a Classic Bran Muffin recipe with a few substitutions, including banana for egg as I'm a vegan and had two overly-ripe bananas. The result? A perfectly delicious, high-fiber, not-too-sweet muffin, perfect for a weekend morning with a cup of coffee.


 Blueberry-Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. wheat bran
1 T. ground flax
1 c. vegan buttermilk*
2 overly-ripe bananas
1/3 c. refined coconut oil
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/8 c. turbinado sugar
1 t. molasses**
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon extract or lemon juice
1 c. white, whole-wheat flour***
1 t. baking soda
3 t. baking powder
1 t. each ginger and cinnamon****
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. each allspice and coriander
1 c. blueberries
turbinado sugar for sprinkling



 Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins. Need enough to make 12.
2. Mix the vegan buttermilk and wheat bran together, set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil, bananas, sugars, vanilla, and lemon extract on medium speed until well-incorporated.
4. Add the buttermilk-wheat bran mixture and beat again until mixed well.
5. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add to the wet ingredients, mixing with a mixing spoon just until mixed.
6. Fold in the blueberries.
7. Fill greased muffin tins to the top rims, like the picture above.
8. Put the muffin tins on the center rack in the preheated oven, and bake for 35 minutes.
9. Let cool for ten minutes, then turn out upside down so the bottoms cool. Arrange on a plate and serve with coffee, or your drink of choice.



Notes:

*Vegan buttermilk is easily made by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per one cup of vegan milk (I prefer unsweetened/unflavored almond milk) and letting sit for 10 minutes.
**Optional
***Any flour would work here, just be mindful of the density of the flour you're working with. I avoid regular white flour because it's devoid of any nutrients really.
****I used ground ginger, but I always keep ginger root in my freezer. Ginger root would be a wonderful sub for the ground.

As a side note, the muffins really rose up over the top giving many of them weird "muffin tops". If you want your muffins to look more aesthetically pleasing, fill the muffin tins about 1/2 full and use more muffin tins. I suspect you could make 3-5 more muffins.

I have to say that I absolutely love, love, love these muffins. The teen devoured three and came back for more. These are the perfect, lazy weekend morning breakfast to have with your cup of coffee. Enjoy!
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