Cereal Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins

I can barely squeeze my thighs into my jeans. If you are a frequent reader, you may have deduced that my love affair with carbs runs deep – and it’s showing.  I’ve never passed up a gooey chocolate chip cookie or slice of toast saturated in salted butter.  Every few weeks, cinnamon-sugar pancakes are my dinner entrée, especially after a difficult day at work –oh so comforting. This romance is starting to take its toll and it cannot go on – or at least at the current frequency.

Never having much luck going cold-turkey, I’ve resolved to ease into carb austerity with a culinary “Nicoderm patch” of breakfast muffins that at least lean towards the healthier side.  (“Not very healthy,” you may think, but considering my baseline is a carrot apple muffin with cream cheese frosting, these are an improvement).

Cereal Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 c. Bran cereal (I use Trader Joe’s high fiber cereal, but All-bran should work also)
1 c. Milk
1 Large egg, beaten
¼ c. Canola oil
½ c. Brown sugar, packed
1 Ripe banana, mashed
1 c. Flour
1 t. Baking powder
½ t. Cinnamon
¼ t. Salt
2 T. Flax seeds, toasted (optional)
1/3 c. Pepitas or chopped nuts (optional)
½ c. Fruit (I used frozen cranberries, but any  fresh or frozen berry, soft fruit or shredded apple would work)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins or use paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine milk, egg and oil.  Add cereal and let sit 15 minutes to soften.  Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add brown sugar and banana to cereal mixture and combine.  Add flour to cereal-banana mixture and stir together just until combined (don’t over mix).  Fold in seeds or nuts (if using) and fruit.

Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until muffins are golden brown.  Paper liners may stick if you don’t allow the muffins to cool completely.

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Phoren’s ‘Go with the Flow’ Muffins*
Makes 12

Ingredients
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 7 Grain®
1 cup milk (more if needed)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon combined (allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and/or cloves)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed or 1/2 cup apple sauce or pureed prunes**
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped dried or fresh fruit (dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, fresh raspberries, peach chunks, grated apples, coconut, etc.)
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Combine Bob’s Red Mill® and 3/4 cup milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Let soften in microwave.  Combine next six ingredients in large bowl. Whisk remaining milk, butter, egg whites and vanilla to blend in medium bowl. Add butter/egg mixture and softened cereal to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Mix in fruit and nuts.  Add additional milk if needed until correct consistency. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Adapted from Bon Appétit
**haven’t tried the prunes yet – may turn muffins an odd color, but will definitely help get things moving along.