A beautiful day for a picnic lunch break.

Even More Bran Muffins!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

As we have already established, food can be transportive.

A chilled piña colada can return us to our honeymoon, while chocolate cake makes children of us all — greedy and eager in that way only precocious five-year-olds can get away with and still be called charming. With one humble mug of strong coffee (generously splashed with cream and sugar because you’re seventeen and just getting used to the bitter flavor), your kitchen becomes a midnight diner on your first cross-country road trip, cicada song filling the starry sky waiting patiently beyond your booth.

Today’s recipe is not one of those recipes.

For food is not the only substance to possess this great power. Despite having lived in Washington most of my life, I still find that a rare sunny day with the right blend of bird song and Fresca can make me believe — if I squint a little — that I’m back in Arizona at my grandmother’s.

Yesterday was one such rare, beautiful day. Which meant that my lunch break was now entirely compulsory, and it HAD to be a picnic.

So for today’s recipe, a travel-friendly, picnic-ready, pantry-staples banana bran muffin!

These nutty, wholesome muffins make excellent travel companions, holding up throughout the journey to a neighborhood park, even wedged as they were in my little backpack and crammed between my go-to spinach salad and the aforementioned Fresca.

Wishing you a little spot of sunshine — and a delicious bite of bran!

Healthy Bran Muffins (adapted, just barely, from the wonderful Ambitious Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (120 g) oat bran
  • 1 + 1/2 cups (195 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) molasses
  • 1/3 cup (~1 large) mashed, very ripe banana (or 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (78 mL) coconut oil, melted and cooled (or melted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Protocol:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400 F.
  2. Grease/butter and flour 10 tins of a standard 12-cup muffin tin, tapping out excess flour. You’ll only get 10 muffins out of this recipe, but they’re oh-so-good.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, molasses, mashed banana, eggs, soymilk, and apple cider vinegar until well-combined and smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and instant espresso powder (if using).
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Stir in melted and cooled coconut oil, mixing again until just combined. Stir in walnuts, being careful not to overmix.
  7. Divide batter evenly between your 10 prepared muffin tins and bake for 15–20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached, being careful not to overbake (mine took 17 minutes).
  8. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm with a wee pat of butter on top.

Happy snacking!

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Helen Grace

Helen Grace

Pursuing the simple joys of butter, flour, and eggs, 52 weeks a year.

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