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Money in the Bank: Bran Muffins

Piggy BankI’d promised another Hawaii adventure story for today, but then I realized it’s Monday and my OCD insists that Monday is Money in the Bank day.  You get the Hawaii story Wednesday.  And since I still feel crummy, as I write this early Sunday afternoon (this cold or whatever it is, is kicking my ass), you get another recipe, because I could post recipes in my sleep.

Or hopped up on Dayquil.

My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression and the vast majority of the recipes I’ve learned, gathered or inherited from her are very frugal, making use of every day ingredients or leftovers or both.  Along with her oatmeal cookie recipe, my favorite is her recipe for bran muffins.

During my childhood, these were made with Post brand 40% Bran Flakes which, alas, are no more (in fact, if I’m not mistaken, this recipe evolved from the one on the box).  Indeed, these days when we are all so concerned with our fiber intake, finding a simple bran flake cereal is damn near impossible – most of the bran cereals on the market have an uncanny resemblance to sticks and twigs in taste and texture, as well as appearance.

Fortunately, I can still find simple bran flakes cereal if I shop the store brands, which makes this recipe even more frugal to make.  If you store the cereal carefully, it will keep for quite awhile, insuring you always have it on hand when you want to make these very simple, moist and tasty muffins.  While the original recipe called for melted shortening, I substitute a non-hydrogenated vegetable oil for a healthier fat.

Note:  If you wish to use a raisin bran cereal, use 1 1/4 cups of cereal and soak only until just moistened.

Bran Muffins

makes 6 large

1 cup bran flakes

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Grease a standard 6-muffin tin well.

In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bran flakes and set aside until very soft.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  When the bran flakes are very soft, mix the egg and vegetable oil into the bran/milk mixture very well.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until mixed; the batter should still be a little lumpy (over-mixing will give you tough muffins).  Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full.

Place the muffin tin in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375° F.  Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a crumb or two clinging to it.

Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.





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