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Posts Tagged ‘muffins’

Bran muffins

I have breakfast issues. I’m allergic to bread and the texture of eggs makes my tongue want to cry. And then it’s winter a lot here, which makes it hard to think about lovely summer breakfasts like melon or smoothies or yogurt.

bran muffins

Thank goodness for muffins! The genius thing about muffins is that you can freeze them. So that means you can make an enormous batch and then defrost them as you want them. You can do this by thinking ahead and laying them out on the counter overnight, or you can pop them into the microwave. Or, if you are as toaster-oven-happy as I am, you can just split them before freezing and then pop them into the toaster oven straight from the freezer, which makes them even warmer!

These are not very sweet — you could add some granulated sugar if you preferred them sweeter — but are a flexible base that’s open to a lot of additions. I’ve listed some of my favorites at the bottom, but I also love them plain, split and toasted and buttered.

Bran muffins
Adapted from Farmgirl Fare

2 eggs
2/3 c. milk (I use whatever’s in my fridge; low-fat and whole both work fine)
2/3 c. plain yogurt or sour cream (again, low-fat works fine)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. molasses*
1/3 c. honey*
1 t. vanilla
2 c. wheat bran**
1 c. oat bran
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
generous pinch of salt
Additions as desired (see below!)

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease or line your muffin tins.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, yogurt or sour cream, oil, molasses, honey, and vanilla until they are combined. Add the dry ingredients — wheat bran, oat bran, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt — all at once. Mix just until combined. If you’re adding any extras, stir them in after the dry ingredients.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. I usually bake two pans at a time; if you do this, rotate them halfway.

When they come out, allow them to cool slightly before removing from the pan. They’ll keep for a few days on the countertop or for months in the freezer.

Additions I like:
*half a cup of shredded coconut
*1 cup of chocolate chips
*half a cup of chopped crystallized ginger

I hear the kind of people who like fruit in their muffins especially like blueberries in these.

*It’s actually possible to use a wide variety of sweeteners here, including cane syrup, agave, or all honey. All molasses is a bit strong for my tastes, but works. I haven’t yet tried maple syrup; if you do, tell me how it goes!
**I found Quaker-brand wheat bran in my regular grocery store, labeled as “unprocessed bran” on the front but clearly identified as wheat bran in the ingredients. If you have access to a store with bulk bins, you’ll almost certainly save some money by buying the bran that way.

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Parsnip spice muffins

I am now in the middle of my winter CSA, in that kind of scary part in the middle where you’ve gotten 2/3 of the produce but have only cooked 1/4 of it. Sure, a lot of it stores well, but it’s a pretty intimidating mountain of produce.

parsnip muffins.jpg

Every year, I find a few produce stumpers: things I have no bad feelings about and can think of ways I could cook, but for which I can’t come up with any way I’d really want to cook it. They usually end up in a big pile of roasted root veggies, where sweet potatoes can take away their sting.

Parnsips are one of those stumpers for me, but this recipe turned into something I was delighted with: moist and rich with the same spices you’d use in pie, but not overwhelming for 8 am consumption. Don’t be scared off by the quantities of spices: through some kind of parsnip-based alchemy, nothing is overpowering in the final mix.

Parsnip spice muffins
adapted from Epicurious

3 large parsnips
3 eggs
1/2 c. canola or other vegetable oil
1/2 c. milk (I used low-fat, which is what I keep around)
1 t. vanilla extract, divided
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
3/4 t. ground allspice
3/4 t. ground cloves
pinch salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts*

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your muffin pans if you won’t be using paper liners.

Trim the ends off the parsnips, and then peel and grate them. Using a food processor is not cheating. You want to end up with about two packed cups of grated parsnip.

Mix the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until blended. Add all of the dry ingredients — flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt — and mix just to combine. Avoid overmixing, which can make quick breads tough. Stir in the grated parsnips and walnuts.

parsnip muffin batter.jpg

Spoon into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4, and bake 18-20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. If your oven doesn’t heat evenly, you may want to rotate the pans halfway through.

ready to bake.jpg

Makes about 18.

*Walnuts can often be bought in pieces, which is handy for just these occasions, but you can also totally use your chef’s knife to make pieces by piling the nuts up and rocking your knife back and forth across them, then re-piling, turning your knife 90 degrees, and repeating until they’re appropriately fine.

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