I'm always on the look out for healthier baking recipes because admittedly, I love things like muffins and scones and cookies—who doesn't though?! Although I've tried many recipes over the years, no other muffin recipe has measured up to this one. This recipe is a combination of my Grandma's Bran Dried Fruit Muffins and my Mom's Banana Muffins. I remember when I was breastfeeding my first child, this was the perfect snack (paired with a glass of milk or some yogurt). High fibre, comforting, filling and EASY! Because of this, I often make a couple dozen for friends who have just had babies (along with these stellar oatmeal chocolate chip cookies). And because this recipe makes so many muffins, there are plenty for you to enjoy too (I always have a stash in the freezer).
A few tips on how to "healthify" your favorite baked goods recipe:
- Switch out white all purpose flour for whole wheat or whole grain flour (or try a combination of barley flour and whole wheat flour)
- Decrease the fat (butter or oil) and replace with fruit such as banana or applesauce OR plain yogurt (note: don't replace ALL of the fat with yogurt or fruit. Only up to 1/2)
- Use less sugar than the recipe calls for—I can usually get away with using two thirds of the sugar in the recipe and often add more fruit for sweetness.
- Add high fibre seeds or grains such as ground flax, hemp, 100% all bran, or chia seeds for a boost in fibre
Four Bowl Banana Bran Muffins
Makes 4 dozen medium sized muffins:
2 cups 100% Bran
2 cups boiling water
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unsweetened bran flakes (or other bran cereal)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
6 ripe bananas mashed
2 cups dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, or mangoes.
- Preheat oven to 375 and line or grease 2 medium muffin tins.
- Bowl 1: Pour the boiling water over the bran and set aside to cool.
- Bowl 2: Sift the flours, baking soda and salt together and then add the bran flakes – mix lightly.
- Bowl 3: Mash the bananas—set aside.
- Bowl 4 (your mixer): Cream butter, eggs, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the 100% bran mixture, bananas and the buttermilk. Mix lightly.
- Fold in the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 parts just until mixed. You don’t want to overmix but you want all of the flour to be incorporated.
- Add the dried fruit and mix lightly. Let mixture sit for 1/2 hour before baking.
- Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, depending on your oven.