May 7, 2017

Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

I've been looking for a good bran muffin recipe for a long time now. My mom had a recipe I liked when I was growing up, but it requires bran products that you can't buy in stores anymore. And Provo Bakery has a honey bran muffin recipe that I love, but they won't divulge the recipe. So I was very happy to find this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Like my mother's recipe, the batter can be stored in the fridge and baked as needed, which is convenient for a quick breakfast or dinner item once you've made the batter. These muffins are high in fiber, not too sweet, and they have a fairly delicate texture. Plus they are delicious!

4 cups wheat bran flakes or plain wheat bran
2 cups bran buds (these look like little pebbles) or all-bran (these look like little twigs
2 cups boiling water
4 cups buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (the original recipe called for this, but I've also used the equivalent amount of mashed overripe banana and that works as well and doesn't change the taste)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups whole wheat flour (I actually use 2 cups white and 3 cups wheat to lighten the muffins up a bit, but they are delicious either way)
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid (needed if you aren't baking the muffin batter right away), add the wheat bran flakes or wheat bran and bran buds or all-bran. Pour boiling water over the top, and mix well. Stir every couple of minutes while mixture cools to room temperature. The mixture will be  thick and sticky. After the mixture cools to warm room temperature, add the buttermilk, melted butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until ingredients are combined. 
The batter can be baked right away (which I like to do and then freeze the extras for later) or stored in the refrigerator, covered well, for up to a month to bake as needed. Give the batter a good stir before using if it has been refrigerated. 

To bake, scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark coated muffin tins) for about 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Makes about 4 dozen muffins.