My mum made the best bran muffins I have ever tasted – moist muffins with plump raisins, utterly …… well I was going to describe them as unctuous as unctuous goes so well with utterly but I thought I should make sure the word meant what I thought it meant. Turns out not…. the muffins are not smooth, slippery or glib, nor do they have false earnestness. I’ll have to retire unctuous as a description for food but the muffins were utterly nectarous doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Anyway, I have made bran muffins for near on 20 years and I haven’t yet found the perfect recipe. This week I had cause to replenish my supply of bran flakes. After a visit to all the supermarkets in Gisborne looking for the Whittakers new range of chocolate (and not finding it), I came home with two packets of bran (shhh, don’t tell the Anster, I’m meant to be on a frugal grocery budget and two packets of bran when one was more than sufficient isn’t going to help).
I had purchased the Healtheries bran flakes from the first supermarket – this is my usual brand of bran. The back of packet offers a Power Bran Muffin recipe which has golden syrup (Mum’s muffins had golden syrup) but no raisins. It does, however, have mashed banana and the suggestion to swap the banana with grated granny smith apples. I think I have cut this recipe out from previous packets of bran but I haven’t ever made the muffins. Bananas usually get reserved for the Best Banana Cake ever but I might pilfer some to make these muffins.
At the second supermarket (still no chocolate), I found another brand of bran flakes FreshLife Natural Bran. This is 100% wheat bran made in New Zealand from imported ingredients (as is the Healtheries Bran Flakes). The main reason I bought the second packet of bran was the recipe on the back (nevermind that I could probably find this recipe on the FreshLife website). If you are a locavore or a ‘NZavore’ then note that FreshLife is an Australian owned company and maybe stick with the Healtheries bran. There are two FreshLife websites (a kiwi one and an Aussie one and while they have a lot of recipes there are none for bran muffins so it turns out my decision to buy a second packet of bran was justified). Bran doesn’t have a long shelf life so I’ll have to make a lot of muffins to use up 900 g bran flakes in the next six months.
Back in the kitchen I set about making the FreshLife Home Style Bran Muffins – these got the jump on the Power Bran Muffins as they had sultanas in them. They also use buttermilk. I didn’t have buttermilk but I did have some sour milk that needed using up.
Home Style Bran Muffins
adapted from FreshLife Home Style Bran Muffins
90 g bran flakes
375 ml sour milk or buttermilk
125 ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
150 g brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
225 g plain white flour (all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125 g sultanas
Preheat oven 190ºC / 375ºF and prepare 12 muffin tins with paper muffin cases.
Combine the bran flakes and sour milk in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
Whisk oil, egg, sugar and extract then add the bran mixture.
Sift flour & baking powder and gently combine (don’t overmix) with the sultanas into the batter.
Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Serving suggestion: Send off with your kidlets in their school lunchboxes for a yummy morning tea treat.
Verdict: these are not my mum’s muffins. They don’t have golden syrup in them but they are a nice hefty muffin without being heavy and stodgy. Nice enough to make again if I have sour milk that requires using.
Note: there are no apples in this recipe but I am sure the sultanas could be replaced with diced apple for a Home Style Bran Muffin with Apple. In fact…. I might try that next since I have a heap of bran to use.
Another note: my adaption of the original recipe are to use sour milk in place of buttermilk and regular flour plus baking powder instead of self-raising flour. I have also converted all the measures to weights.
Yet another note: I haven’t received any free product in the making of these muffins.