Friday, March 28, 2014

Back to Basics

I haven't posted in a while a year and a half.
What can I say? I was really really busy? I was thinking about other things? Those are both true, but still, it's been way (way, way) too long. I'm hoping to get back into the habit of posting recipes, and please forgive my long absence. And what better way to start than by going back to what this blog is all about: muffins!
These bran muffins are so good. Also, you can eat them for breakfast and not feel weird about it, because they're pretty wholesome, which is to say, not just cake in disguise.

Apple Bran Muffins
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen, via because I actually don't have an ATK membership.

2 1/4 cups All Bran twigs cereal (I might start buying it in bulk)
1 cup rasins + 1 Tbsp water
1 small-medium apple, peeled + chopped
1 3/4 cups AP flour (I ran out of whole wheat, but the recipe actually calls for 1 1/4 c AP + 1/2 c WW)
2 tsp baking soda (not powder!!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
3 Tbsp molasses
1 swipe orange zest (does that make sense? Anyway, just a little.)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or another 2 Tbsp canola oil)
1 Tbsp flax seed meal
2 Tbsp what germ
1 3/4 cups soy milk mixed with 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
2/3 cup turbinado sugar (or brown sugar, or dehydrated can juice, or whatever dry sweetener you're into. I'm sure you could use agave, but don't ask me how much.)

1) Preheat your oven to 400 F, and grease one standard muffin pan with a little bit of spray oil.
2)In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the raisins and water, and microwave on high for about 40 seconds. You want the raisins to absorb some of the water and plump up. Don't skip this step! If you don't have a microwave, just pour a little bit of boiling water over the raisins, cover them, and let them sit for about 5 minutes.
3) Grind half of the bran cereal in the food processor until it reaches a sandy texture. You can then add it back in with the rest of the cereal.
4)In a large bowl, combine the sugar, molasses, and oils, and whisk until combined. Add in the apple sauce, extracts, zest, wheat germ, and flax meal, and beat for a minute or two. Add in the soy milk- vinegar mixture. Now stir in all of the cereal until moistened, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. You want to allow the bran cereal to absorb as much moisture as it can from the other ingredients.
5) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour(s), baking soda, and salt. Whisk everything to combine really well, so that you won't end up with any really salty bites.
6) Once the 15 minutes are up, you can add your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir until everything is moistened. Now fold in your raisins and apples.
7) Drop about 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. You can really pile the muffins high and overfill the cups, as they don't spread very much in the oven.
8) Bake for about 16 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs (but no wet batter.)
9) Allow the muffins to cool before removing from the pan, because they're a little delicate when warm. I think you should allow them to cool before you eat them, but my husband says that's BS. Just don't blame me if you burn your mouth!