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Mixed Berry Bran Muffins

Mixed Berry Bran Muffins

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I've always been a huge fan of bran muffins, but sometimes it can be hard to find a truly decent one. Some are overly dry or lacking in flavour. In my early twenties I lived in Canada for 6 months, and I made a habit out of eating a freshly baked bran muffin every other morning from this tiny cafe. Years later, I find most cafes near where I live now don't have bran muffins at all. So if you can't buy them, make them! Not only will you save money but you have total control over the ingredients you're putting into your body. While I have a huge sweet tooth (and I'm sure this will never change!) I do like to keep my breakfast healthy, and make sure I'm going to eat something that will sustain me through the morning. These muffins make the perfect addition to the breakfast table or as a mid-morning snack as they don't contain any butter or oil. I found a standard recipe for plain bran muffins on allrecipes.com and altered it by substituting applesauce for the butter, and adding blueberries, blackberries and walnuts. So not only are these muffins packed with fibre; they also taste amazing, and the applesauce prevents them from being dry.

Ingredients:

1 & 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

*Recipe makes 6 jumbo sized muffins or 12 regular sized. Half fill any empty cups with water to evenly distribute heat.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the bran and the buttermilk and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to the buttermilk/bran mixture. In a small bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture until just blended, leaving some stripes of flour still visible. Fold in walnuts and berries until just incorporated.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups until almost full. Bake for 22-25 minutes (jumbo size) or 15-20 minutes (regular size) or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
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Notes: if you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can use regular milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes before using. Be careful not to over-mix the batter, or the muffins will not rise. Muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. 

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