I rarely bake muffins, but when I do, I try to make them healthy. Muffins are often mini-cakes, packed with sugar and fat, which to some extent can’t be avoided if you wish to eat a muffin that doesn’t resemble a hockey puck or bird food. To compensate, I try to reduce the sugar and fat and add healthy grains or cereals, fruit and nuts. Today I had a request for homemade muffins from my son who is home sick from school. Since he hasn’t had much of an appetite, I couldn’t resist trying to whip up a batch of Apple Bran Muffins. They are reasonably healthy for a muffin, while sufficiently naughty to indulge a craving for something moist and sweet.
Apple Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (or about 24 mini-muffins)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup grated apple, packed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a muffin or mini-muffin tin (or line with paper liners).
2. Whisk the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the molasses and vanilla, and then mix in the buttermilk and bran.
4. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined, without over-mixing. Fold in the raisins, apple and walnuts, if using. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin or paper liners, filling them.
5. Bake in the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes (or 18 to 20 minutes for mini-muffins).