Tag Archives: Bran Muffins

Blueberry Coconut Bran Muffins a personal favorite

I’m partial to real, unsweetened coconut. I made a coconut bread once I still think is among the best thing’s I have stumbled across in my test kitchen. I made a coconut doughnut as well. It’s a nutty flavor I never liked as a child, but really like now. I’m constantly sneaking it into stuff, like my latest bran muffin experiments. Though the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Muffins were the best nutritionally, and the Cranberry Banana Bran Muffins were the winner of the taste tests with those who sampled them, these remain my favorite.

Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly whipped until combined
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup dried, unsweetened blueberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, some reserved

Directions:

  1. Prepare muffin pans by greasing sides lightly with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer combine oil, egg, brown sugar, milk, water, yogurt and vanilla, just until blended, about one minute.
  4. Fold wet into dry until combined, then fold in the blueberries and coconut.
  5. Pour batter into muffin pan, nearly full so they will rise and become very big.
  6. Top with thick flakes of coconut, decoratively
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes, but watch carefully. Check with tester and remove promptly when dough has clotted and the tester comes out nearly smooth.
  8. Let stand for five minutes then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Best served warm but kept well for several days. Can be frozen as well.
Nutrition Facts 

  9 Servings 
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 234.1
  Total Fat 11.0 g
  Saturated Fat 8.8 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  Cholesterol 21.8 mg
  Sodium 143.2 mg
  Potassium 108.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 36.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
  Sugars 18.6 g
  Protein 4.6 g
Advertisements

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Muffins surprisingly tasty, low in sugar

We originally set out to make a bran muffin taste like a snickers bar, and do it with very little sugar. It didn’t really work, but we did discover you can make caramel from nothing but sweet potatoes and water and its very passable, which we will surely employ in our upcoming Energy Bar Test Kitchen.

Eventually we circled back to a classic Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Muffin. This might be our best creation because its BIG, its filling and its loaded with protein. Each muffin has only 230 calories, and 8 grams of sugar. Just 24 carbs for any muffin is pretty low. The peanut butter pushed the fat grams to a tolerable 8 grams and made it very tasty.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bran
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbls dark, unsweetened coca powder
  • 1 cup chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly whipped until combined
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural EffinArtist Peanut Butter (ok, any natural PB without sugar will do).
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Prepare muffin pans by greasing sides lightly with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer combine peanut butter, egg, brown sugar, milk, yogurt and vanilla, just until blended, about two minutes.
  4. Fold wet into dry until combined.
  5. Pour batter into muffin pan, nearly full so they will rise and become very big.
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes, but watch carefully. Check with tester and remove promptly when dough has clotted and the tester comes out nearly smooth.
  7. Let stand for five minutes then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Best served warm but kept well for several days. Can be frozen as well.

For the best tasting, lightest Bran Muffins you’ve ever had check out the Cranberry Banana Bran Muffins we also made in the test kitchen.

Nutrition Facts 

  9 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 230.7
  Total Fat 9.5 g
  Saturated Fat 2.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  Cholesterol 43.4 mg
  Sodium 210.0 mg
  Potassium 105.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 24.9 g
  Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
  Sugars 8.5 g
  Protein 15.1 g

Cranberry banana bran muffins fit the healthy bill

The test kitchen’s pursuit of the perfect bran muffin proved one of the more difficult challenges we’ve tackled. We started with all kinds of crazy ideas, that included making sweet potato caramel for frosting (which is a very good idea, but not quite right for these muffins), using lots of greek yogurt for moisture, and even baking/frying the muffins at the same time in coconut oil (sounds weird, because it was, but dang those little guys were tasty).

Eventually we circled back to a more minimalist pursuit, a less-is-more strategy that brought about the desired results. We ended up creating three bran muffins from scratch: the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Muffin, The Blueberry Coconut Bran Muffin and the Cranberry Banana Bran Muffin.

2014-02-13 16.51.07

We will post the recipes and calorie information for all three, but we decided to start with the true winner, the best of the best, the Cranberry Banana Bran Muffin. It turned out so good we felt guilty eating it. But with 13 grams of protein, only 228 calories and 1 gram of fat, these big fatty muffins fit the bill of both tasty, moist and good for you (though admittedly both the sugars and carbs came in higher than on the other two when we ran the nutrition data).

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup bran
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup whey protein powder
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly whipped until combined
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries

Directions:

  1. Prepare muffin pans by greasing sides lightly with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer combine banana, egg, brown sugar, milk, yogurt and vanilla, just until blended, about one minute.
  4. Fold wet into dry until combined, then fold in the cranberries.
  5. Pour batter into muffin pan, nearly full so they will rise and become very big.
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes, but watch carefully. Check with tester and remove promptly when dough has clotted and the tester comes out nearly smooth.
  7. Let stand for five minutes then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Best served warm but kept well for several days. Can be frozen as well.

Nutrition data from Sparklepeople.com, which was WAY easier than nutritiondata.com (they have some serious kinks to work out. I’ll just leave it at that).

Nutrition Facts
  9 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 232.5
  Total Fat 2.2 g
  Saturated Fat 1.1 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
  Cholesterol 47.7 mg
  Sodium 430.8 mg
  Potassium 176.2 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 44.7 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
  Sugars 14.9 g
  Protein 14.0 g

News from the Test Kitchen- Bran Madness

The Bride and I have been watching food documentaries of late. Any residual resistance I had for my sugary concoctions went largely out the window after viewing these. Sugar is the devil.

Of course, I’ve long danced with the devil, so no wonder it feels so familiar.

Bad food is also a drug. No wonder I’m so obsessed. I’m scanning about for new addictions apparently.

With that in mind the Bran Muffin test kitchen kicked into high gear in search of our three aforementioned goals: 1) Moistness 2) Health 3) Artistry.

After my first batch, where I stuck to the basics, I decided I had to branch out. Search “moist” bran muffins and the recipes are all very similar to bran muffins, in general, which by definition means dry as toast.

In the true spirit of testing, I’ve now made three batches of muffins each differently, slowly evolving the process to narrow in on what will earn the EFFin Artist label. I’m so far off the grid they don’t even have power here. I’m going where no recipe seems to have gone before.

For example. One batch I envisioned tasting like a healthy Snickers bar, full of chocolate, peanut butter and caramel and still having only a 1/4 cup of brown sugar total. Impossible? I think not.

Overall the muffin proved delicious, especially compared to bran muffins, but nothing like a Snickers bar. It was loaded energy bomb. For the chocolate I used protein powder. The peanut butter was Effin A brand, all natural. The caramel topping came from sweet potatoes, a smidge of butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar, greatly reduced. On a couple of muffins I mixed this caramel-like mixture with a touch of cream cheese to make it more frosting-like. It’s amazing how tasty this all was and with virtually no sugar.

2014-02-07 13.58.17

Sounds delicious right? Well it was. EXCEPT: I was listening to AC/DC and Ozzy at the time and got a little jacked up and forgot to turn the oven down (speaking of dance with the devil… our oven is Satan’s spawn. But that’s another story). So they cooked a bit hot and burned ever so slightly the muffin cup. They were still really moist thanks to the plain Greek yogurt I mixed into the batter. But they just didn’t have the perfect finished artistry to succeed on all three levels. Very close. For the next round I’ll mix some dark cocoa powder with the protein powder because the chocolate was all but lost. (Another little secret: I used half a banana mashed into the eggs to give added moisture. The flavor is lost, which I wanted because it didn’t go with a Snickers Bar, but the moisture remained… very cool, I think).

My next creation was a blueberry coconut bran muffin. Here I got absolutely a bit whacky. I decided to use coconut oil, but rather than heat it into a liquid I used it solid and crunched it up into the batter. My thinking was it would heat and pour moisture into the dough while they baked. I also used a 1/4 cup of raw coconut sugar, 1/2 cup of coconut water, dried coconut flakes and a sprinkling of coconut dust on top for that all-too-important artistry. I folded the blueberries in at the last so they didn’t smash up too much. Again I went for yogurt in the batter as moisture. It almost worked until… the oil ended up basically frying the muffins as they cooked. I opened the oven and it looked like I was frying dough again!

As it turned out, the edges are a delightful crispy texture like fried dough, but of course they aren’t really fried. But the oil kept them so moist and dense, they didn’t rise at all. So these are too tiny to call finished.

2014-02-07 16.35.44

I’m going to try it again with two corrections: The oil will be mixed in so it won’t “fry” but just have that moisture. I’ll also use baking powder next time to get the lift I need. I like BIG muffins that bowl over the edges, so that’s a must for the finished product.

So who wins the sweepstakes?

Just like my brother’s favorite TV show The Sopranos… nobody knows!

YET.

I can’t send the sweepstakes package yet… because I haven’t discovered the perfect muffin yet. Some good things have emerged, but other things haven’t quite come together. The freezer is full of these little dudes, but none are Effin Art. None are worthy to wear the “I’m an EFFin Artist, Man!” label. The quest continues. Stay tuned… the winner’s spot is still very much up for grabs. All I can say is when I’m done, these will be very, very worth the effort to win them.

By the way, the Snickers bar muffin had 1 gram of sugar! Only 1 per muffin. Amazing right?!

Stay tuned.

Effin A has left the building…. so don’t bother trying to unsubscribe. He can’t hear you…

News From The Test Kitchen- Bran Muffins

Into the vast void I hollar, “I RULE!”

That was the result of Croissant Test Kitchen Week. I rule.

They were THAT good. And The Bride gave our youngest, who doesn’t even participate in this email chain, the sweepstakes package for no other reason than she’s the favorite.

OK… on to this week.

I’m focused on Bran Muffins. The challenge is three-fold. 1) They have to be moist. Bran muffins usually make desert sand look moist. 2) They have to be uber-healthy otherwise I might as well make a Teddy Bear Croissonut. 3) They have to look artistic. Let’s face it, most bran muffins look like ugly pine cones. My first trial batch tasted great, but there was as much artistry as a paint-by-numbers book.

So it’s on.

Good Night and Good Luck!

Effin Artist OUT.

To unsubscribe just keep on doing what you’re doing, ignoring me, and sooner or later you’ll be… sorry?… ???