February 25, 2008

battle of the bran muffins

Come one, come all, to the Battle of the Bran Muffins!

I was tired of looking at the sad box of raisin bran sitting in my cabinet, so I decided to make some muffins. (Technically, it was no longer raisin bran, as I had picked out all of the raisins for my bedazzled bread.) I set out on an online search to find the ultimate recipe. Of course, I found zillions. I narrowed it down to two, both of which would help me clear out a few more things from my cabinets, still be healthy, and still probably taste good. I’m slightly abulic, so instead of painfully forcing myself to make a decision, I opted to try both recipes. Thus emerged the Battle of the Bran Muffins.

Recipe 1: The Classic Version
My idea of a classic bran muffin comes from the recipe I've had for years from a box of raisin bran. Just for kicks, I threw in some dried cranberries that have been hanging around for awhile. This recipe is tried and true and makes one heck of a good muffin.

2 cups pummeled bran flakes
1 cup buttermilk (I used the good ol’ milk + lemon juice combo)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
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
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange-flavored dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Mix together bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat together oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add cranberries and stir to coat with flour (to avoid sinkage).
Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe 2: The Healthy Version
No butter or oil at all? How can this be? Yes, friends, this is a practically fat-free muffin, made with whole wheat and applesauce. I had my doubts, but they're surprisingly moist and tasty.

2 cups pummeled bran flakes
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce (mine was cinnamon flavored, of course)
1 egg
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk (again with the lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Pour boiling water over cereal and let stand.
Mix together remaining ingredients and add softened cereal.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Although the healthy muffins are really quite yummy and guilt-free, I have to say that I preferred the classic version a bit more. I think it was actually the hint of orange from the cranberries that did it for me.

Eh, they’re both keepers. I'm a lover, not a fighter.


marye said...

Love bran muffins..they sound great either way.

Emiline said...

Bran muffins aren't appreciated enough! We should have a national bran muffin day.
Both look good. I probably need to stick with the fat-free version.

pacificoutpost said...

Great use of those lingering products in the kitchen cabinets!

Vicarious Foodie said...

Hi there--thanks for your comment! With your muffins and my grilled cheese, I think we could have a *fabulous* lunch together. ;)

A. Grace said...

That they were, Marye. That they were.

I can't believe there isn't already a National Bran Muffin Day! You're right, Emiline, there needs to be one!

Thanks, pacificoutpost. I pride myself in wasting as little possible! Some might even call it obsessive...

Vicarious Foodie--you can have the bran muffins...I'll take the grilled cheese. Pepper jack and tomato on ciabatta, please. :)

LisaRene said...

This was great to read. I'm a healthy muffin addict and often compare recipes in this manner. Experimenting is such fun :)