I have a strange affinity for bran. I believe it stems from spending time with my grandfather when I was very young. He would eat cereals like Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, and Bran Flakes for breakfast and I wanted to be just like him so I would request a bowl too. Except I didn’t want anything to do with those sugared raisins. I liked my geriatric cereal straight-up. Most people tend to want to mask the taste of bran with nuts, sweeteners, and various berries, but not me. I just want the down and dirty basics because believe it or not I really do like the taste.
Unfortunately, the majority of bakeries seem to disagree with me. They stuff perfectly fabulous bran muffins full of miscellaneous accoutrements hoping to entice people into eating their “so-called” healthy concoctions. Well I don’t want pistachios, chocolate chips, or golden raisins in my bran muffin. You don’t need to coerce me. I actually want to eat them! Is a basic lightly sweetened bran-based baked good too much to ask for? It would appear so. Honestly, I’ve long since given up hope and now I just make them myself.
This recipe yields a dozen moist and delightfully uncomplicated bran muffins blessedly free from the add-ins that irritate me so much. I used light sour cream in the batter but you could also use plain yogurt or a combination of the two. Of course, if you’re into fruit and nuts feel free to toss in a cup of your favorites just don’t expect me to eat them.
By the way, the colorful cupcake liners found on the muffins in these pictures are all available from Elinor Klivan’s new Cupcake Kit published by Chronicle Books.
Sour Cream Bran Muffins
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 12 muffins
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup sour cream (Erin’s Note: Feel free to substitute light sour cream or your favorite plain yogurt)
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miller’s bran (Erin’s Note: I used Quaker Unprocessed Bran)
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, beat in the egg, the sour cream, and the molasses. In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, the salt, and the bran, add the mixture to the sour cream mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.) Spoon the batter into 12 well-buttered 1/3-cup muffin tins and bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool.