Monday, August 16, 2010

Banana Blueberry Bran Muffins (or how to make your GI system happy)

Yes, there are a million recipes out there & most muffin recipes are good. Some are even dessert-like. And if you like sweet, cakey muffins, these are not going to fit the bill. These will, however, keep you regular (ha!), full, and healthy as they are low in fat, full of fiber—and thanks to the blueberries, contain antioxidants.

This is my all-time favorite muffin recipe that I have perfected based on many other muffin recipes I’ve tried. When I used to travel for a living (back when I had a paycheck motivating job), my breakfast on the run was a Whole Foods bran muffin, a container of raspberries, sometimes some Greek yogurt, and a black coffee. I would nibble on it all through lunch (because I only took lunch less than half the time) and this would tide me over until an early dinner.

Since then, I have sought to come close to the way that Whole Foods makes their muffins (because they do not publish the recipe)….this is the closest I’ve come—and I think mine are moister. Also, one that comes close to this is Bread & Company's (in Nashville, TN) bran muffin (yum!).

If want a plain bran muffin, omit the banana and blueberries and reduce the cooking time by about 20 minutes—but check on them at the 20 minute mark anyway. Oh, and if you're wondering where to get some of the ingredients, take a little field trip to Whole Foods--the bulk food section, specifically--definately eye-opening.

I’m really proud of these and if you try them and don’t like them—I’m sorry. Give them to your grandparents or your gastroenterologist.

BANANA BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS (triple threat muffins)

(Alternately, for a lighter colored & a bit lighter textured muffin, you can use 2 cups oat bran and 1 cup wheat bran)

2 cups wheat bran
1 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup skim milk or soymilk
2/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (wild if you can get them)

Place oven rack in middle of oven and heat oven to 375°. Grease a standard size muffin pan or line cups with paper liners (which makes clean up so much easier).

Combine wheat bran, oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine eggs, milk, yogurt, canola oil, molasses, and honey and bananas in a small bowl and mix well. (Note: you can use all honey or all molasses instead if desired.)

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Then add blueberries over all this and very gently mix with a rubber spatula just until combined.

Generously fill muffin cups with batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes--but check because ovens vary so much--if edges start to brown signifantly, the muffins are most likely done. Cool muffins in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and serve warm, or let cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy the muffins plain, drizzled with a little honey, or spread with peanut butter and a slather of your favorite jam. Store muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze. Defrost muffins at room temperature, or in the microwave.

Makes 12 very large and very moist muffins or (14-15 smaller sized ones).

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