In an effort to kick start my Monday, I spent this afternoon baking a batch of bran muffins that I can feel good about devouring tomorrow morning. We're right in the middle of the worst month of the year, in my opinion. Sick and tired of donning layers of clothes and forecasts filled with snow, I'll do just about anything to add a ray of sunshine into February.
Quite rightly, I tend to spend the "hibernation months" (as we like to call them here in Chicago) with my nose to the grindstone so that as soon as it starts to thaw, I am ready to spend more time outdoors enjoying myself. As part of that workaholic ethos, I am happy to announce that as of today, Hunger Habit has a new look. Thanks to my super talented brother in-law to be, Anthony, I have a new logo. It's certainly not the end to my improvements here in my little blog world, but like anything else I try to accomplish, it's one step in the right direction.
As we count down the days to day light savings time, give these muffins a try. They definitely have a "good for you" value that you don't find in a lot of muffins. I used an Ina Garten recipe and left out the walnuts and kept the raisins and bananas. I have made them with other dried fruits and nuts, but the bananas tend to keep the muffin moist and delicious. You can try adding dried cranberries or apricots instead of the raisins and there are countless different variations worthy of pairing with bran.
I find that if I have a healthy breakfast ready to grab and eat at my desk, my day has an all together perkier beginning. Lately, I find myself staring at 11 am before I can even get to my to-do list. I just hope these muffins understand how much I am counting on them this week.
Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten
Makes about 20 muffins
2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 extra-large, free range eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cups raisins
2 cups large diced bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, and if used, I like the finely chopped nuts)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or use silicon liners as I have.
Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bowl and add the molasses, orange zest and vanilla.
Add the bran and buttermilk mixture and combine with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Making sure not to overmix, and with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mix to the batter and only mix until just combined.
Finally, fold in the raisins, nuts and bananas with a rubber spatula.
Scoop the batter into the muffin cups using a large spoon and fill to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick or cake tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely, unless someone steals a warm one from the muffin tin.