The rain is falling in earnest here where I live, and the Boy is sleeping in past noon. Time to lure him out of bed with an old family favorite, "6-Week Bran Muffins."
I adore this recipe for several reasons:
1. Everything I need to make it is probably already in my fridge and pantry. The most exotic thing in it is buttermilk (and if I've made Mrs. Abernathy's Chocolate Cake recently, I have leftover buttermilk hanging around).
2. These muffins are chock-full of fiber. But they're so tasty (thanks to the sugar, butter, and optional fruit) that even a bran-hater will like them. I can't call them health food exactly (again, because of the sugar and butter!). But they're a great way to sneak extra fiber into your diet, or the diet of reluctant family members or children.
3. The batter keeps for six whole weeks in the fridge (hence, their name). You can make them whenever you like and have hot, fresh muffins within minutes. Once the batter is assembled, a teen, a tween, or even an inept housemate can make them. As long as you trust the person with using an oven, they can bake these muffins!
4. My brother gave me this recipe, and I so admire my brother.
So, here's how they go:
Start with a cup of Nabisco 100% Bran, or if you don't have that, try General Mills' Fiber One:
Dump it in a small bowl and pour a cup of boiling water over, then set it aside:
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar:
Beat it until it's fluffy--a matter of a couple of minutes:
Add two eggs and beat until mixed in:
Pour in a cup of buttermilk:
At this point the mixture resembles a very loose batter:
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt:
Add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing as you go:
Now the mixture will resemble a fairly thick batter:
Pour in the rest of the buttermilk:
And now you've got a good facsimile of a cake batter:
Take the water-plumped cereal...
..and plop it in the batter, mixing as you go:
It looks like this when you're finished. Kind of small lumps:
Now toss in two cups of Kellogg's "All Bran" cereal. It looks like little twigs:
Dump the twigs--uh, cereal--into the already-lumpy batter:
And you get even lumpier batter!:
At this point you can add raisins or crushed, drained pineapple to the batter. Or you can add the fruit only as you bake the muffins, keeping the remaining plain batter in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Everyone in my family likes raisins in the batter, so I dump them in at this point:
Spoon the lumpy wonderfulness into regular- or mini-size muffin tins:
I only wanted some for today's breakfast, so I just made six muffins for now:
Store the remaining batter in an airtight container (or even a bowl covered with plastic wrap). Label it so you remember how to bake them for the next time (and so somebody riffling through your fridge doesn't wonder what the HECK is that stuff?):
As the recipe says, the batter keeps for 6 weeks in the fridge. That's a long time!
Aaah! Freshly baked muffins. They should be a healthy golden color when they're baked:
The tops have a slight gloss to them, which just adds to their attractiveness, I think:
Here's a key tip I learned from my mom, that prevents you from tearing up your muffins by trying to get them out of their pans too soon, or having to take a chisel to them by taking them out of their pans too late:
After taking them from the oven, let the muffins sit undisturbed on a cooling rack for three to five minutes. Then--and only then!--run a dinner knife around the edge of each muffin, and tip them gently on an angle, while they're still resting in the tins:
This releases some of the heat retained in the muffins, while they firm up slightly as they cool. After five or so minutes, take them out of their tins and allow them to cool the rest of the way on the rack:
Or grab them while they're still warm, because once the smell of these babies wafts through your house, the kitchen will be the most popular place to be!
All that's left is the cleanup:
And the recipe. Enjoy!
6-Week Bran Muffins
from Rick Bliss
1 C. Nabisco "100% Bran" cereal or General Mills' "Fiber One" cereal
1 C. boiling water
1/2 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 C. sugar
2-1/2 C. flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 C. buttermilk
2 C. Kellogg's "All Bran" cereal
1 C. or so of raisins or crushed and drained pineapple, if desired
In a small bowl, soak the 100% Bran in boiling water; set aside and let cool. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter or margarine until fluffy. Add eggs and 1 C. of the buttermilk. Add flour, soda, salt, and then the remaining buttermilk. Add the soaked 100% Bran; mix. Add the All Bran; mix again. Add the raisins or pineapple if desired, or add only as you bake the muffins, keeping the remaining batter "plain."
To bake: Pour batter in greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until muffins are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center slides out clean. Regular-sized muffins take between 15 and 25 minutes; mini-muffins take between 8 and 12 minutes. (The time variance depends on whether the batter is already at room temperature or is coming out of the fridge, chilled).
Makes 6 dozen mini-muffins. I can't recall how many regular-sized muffins the recipe makes, but I'm thinking...about 4 dozen? Three and a half dozen? Anyway, lots!