Friday, January 18, 2008

Eat Your Fiber (Refrigerator Bran Muffins)

Think back to the 1960's. We were just starting to eat more cereal, rather than bacon and eggs every morning. Grape Nuts. Corn Flakes. Oatmeal hadn't hit the big time yet as a cholesterol fighter. We didn't even know about cholesterol back then. We hardly knew about yogurt - it was a kind of "health food" as I recall. But the cereal manufacturers had produced both All-Bran and Raisin Bran, so sure enough, somebody came up with a variation other than consuming it in your cereal bowl. I'm sure this recipe made the rounds of most home cooks of the era. It may be a recipe devised by Kellogg's for all I know, although I got it from a friend of my mother's. It originally called for All Bran, but it was too, too much fiber and not all that tasty, so I substituted the bran flakes instead. Much improved and have made them that way ever since. You mix it up in a big bowl, refrigerate it and plop batter into a muffin tin in the morning. Voila. Fifteen minutes later you have freshly baked muffins. The batter keeps for weeks in the refrigerator. The marketing of the day convinced us this kind of muffin was healthy for us because it contained bran. And raisins. Never mind the sugar - it was considered an energy source. That mentality hasn't changed - just look in the case at any Starbuck's and you'll see these humongous bran muffins - probably 500 or more calories and loads of fat. Hmmm.
Cook's Notes: Doctor these up with some additional dried fruits (dried cranberries, for instance, or chopped up apricots or some crystallized ginger) if you'd like some variety. I added some more golden raisins because the brand of Raisin Bran flakes was a little light on the fruit, in my opinion. It's wasn't Kellogg's, but somebody else's label. You can also add some cinnamon and ginger to the batter too, if you'd like a spicy variation. I substituted 1/3 Splenda for the sugar, and these are not overly sweet even so. If you like a sweeter muffin, add another 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar. After making one batch of these the other day, I decided they were not quite sweet enough (I'd put in less sugar than called for). So, I added about 2 T. sugar to the wet batter, stirred it around a bit, then once plopped into the muffin tin, I sprinkled just a tad of sugar on top of each muffin. Oh. Very good. I'll do that again because the ouside of the muffin had just a bit of caramelization from the late-added sugar. I liked the texture.

These aren't going to wow your next breakfast. But, they're just plain and good. DH decided that our plain (unflavored, but sweetened) yogurt was just wonderful with these, and indeed they are. Something about the creaminess of the yogurt - like eating cream cheese with them, or something.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins
Recipe: Mary Wilfert, a San Diego friend from the 1960's
Serving Size : 30 (small)
3 cups Raisin bran -- cereal
1 cup boiling water
2 whole eggs -- lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. In a large bowl mix bran cereal with boiling water, stirring to moisten evenly. Allow to cool, then mix in eggs, buttermilk, oil and stir well. Stir together (separately) the soda, salt, sugar and flour, then stir into the bran mixture.
3. Scoop batter into muffin tins and sprinkle tops with just a little bit of sugar. Bake for 20 minutes (small muffins). If using larger muffin tins, bake about 25 minutes.
NOTES : This whole mixture will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks if you want to bake them fresh in the morning.
Per Serving: 123 Calories; 4g Fat (30.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 15mg Cholesterol; 199mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
Printer-friendly recipe, click title at top.


Ramsey said...

Great recipe!

Another high fiber muffin is the Miracle Muffin
Tehse muffins are easy to make - Just add water, mix and bake! They are an excellent source of fiber. The fiber helps manage diabetes, cholesterol and weight loss as well as many other ailments.

Anonymous said...

Help...I live in Africa and can't find buttermilk in the markets. Any ideas on subs?

Carolyn T said...

I think I've read that the equivalent of buttermilk is to mix 1 cup of warmed milk with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1 1/3 tablespoons cider vinegar. The other formula is 2/3 cup plain yogurt with 1/3 cup cow's milk. All these methods will make the milk curdle - similar to buttermilk. The next time you travel you might look for powdered buttermilk too (it's in nearly every grocery store here in the U.S.). One brand is Bob's Red Mill. Also at King Arthur Flour.

In case you read my blog - I've moved it over to I stopped blogging at THIS site in April of 2008.

Good luck with the recipe!