Childhood Bran Muffins

Raisin Bran Muffin Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Waking up to the smell of fresh baked bran muffins right out of the oven at my grandparents’ home jelled my love of baked goods as a young child. My grandfather, Pito, would get up at five in the morning to meditate. He would sometimes follow his ritual by making bran muffins from scratch. The smell would wake me up with a smile and I would walk over to the kitchen where a basket of muffins was waiting for me.
The gesture of making bread from simple, healthy ingredients impresses me even today as a wholesome act of love and care amongst family. These are the things that stay with you as you grow older and I thank my grandfather for sharing them with us.
This bran muffin recipe is wonderfully versatile and easy to make. It makes a moist muffin that is not too sweet. What is great about this recipe is that it makes a rather large batch (24 muffins); you can make the batter ahead of time and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. So you can wake up, scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for fresh baked muffins every morning.
The recipe was inspired by the Raisin Walnut Bran Muffins served in Bozeman’s best coffee bar.
Bran Muffins
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
handful of raisins (optional)
handful of toasted walnut (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 24 muffin tins with oil and set aside. Combine the hot water and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk oats, bran, wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl to blend. In a separate large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, buttermilk and eggs lightly. Add the hot water mixture and the flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
3. Divide muffins into 24 muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in a rack for five minutes. Serve hot with butter or at room temperature.
Makes 24 muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins – It’s Officially Fall!

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
Plate by Roger Baumann. Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Fall leaves are starting to show and the roadside fruit stands are now all pumpkin. It’s officially fall.
I go a little pumpkin/squash crazy this time of year and find as many ways to enjoy these seasonal veggies as I can. Last night we enjoyed some white beans, fresh sausage from Buon Italia and squash. This morning I made some warm pumpkin muffins with the leftover squash.
Okay, so technically they were squash muffins. I use either fresh pumpkin or squash interchangeably. If you use squash, I would recommend a Kabocha because it is flavorful and smooth. Butternut and even acorn squash will do. You can also use canned pumpkin puree, which will do in a pinch, but, why use a can when the fresh stuff is in abundance this time of year?
Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until just until combined.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.
4. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and remove them from the muffin pan. Enjoy warm or let cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.