Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where in TAR-nation is that durn recipe?

Phew...found it. I had given up hope....the recipe I rightfully and miserly copied from a magazine at Borders while my ball and chain was reading some medical book looking for a pill to cure the nut job he married. I was sooooo bored, found the cooking rags and picked one that I have seen before and admired - in fact, a dear friend gave me a couple, which I read and then recycled, only to have said friend ask me all innocent one day "How did you like those? You can bring them back anytime, no hurry!" I must say it took all my I-didn't-do-it-Randy-did lying skills to keep a solid poker face. An internet search, a phone call, a debit card and a 1-2 week wait and I had two brand new replacements, of which she will never know unless perhaps she is reading this blog. D'oh.

Anyway, this particular edition contained a recipe that make my tummy growl and my bowels rumble - my favorite flavor of muffin, the mighty BRAN. The fact that it sounds healthy has made this delicious treat fight for it's place with the more Nancy-Muffins....pumpkin spice, apple streusal, CHOCOLATE? Excuse me, but if it's chocolate it's no longer a muffin, stop kidding yourself and check that double chin for crumbs. Not that store-bought muffins are good for you regardless of the flavor - bran included. I imagine the 55 gallon drum of canola oil that Costco probably goes through on muffin-baking day, along with a semi truck load of sugar and realize there is a good reason they are so yummy. And not healthy.

Strike 2? Raisins. Yes, those wrinkled little things that you either love or hate - it's quite a personal choice. You can choose to use or not...I mean, why would you buy something you hate to put in an awesome recipe for something delicious that will ruin it for you? Personally I think raisins and oatmeal are made for each other....cookies I mean, putting them in oatmeal is a revolting affront and should be avoided at all costs. Remember when you were a kid and went trick or treating on Halloween? Those that gave you raisins ranked right up there with stale cookies in those little halloween bags that they always fell out of and got crumbs all over your good candy, apples (really?, do you think I walk for miles begging for HEALTH food?), and popcorn ball givers....which were actually useful because they would pick up most of the cookie crumbs. Kind of like a Swiffer for your pillowcase. Just remember they're optional and you'll be fine either way.

One thing I should stress - don't overbake these puppies. They get hard and dark on the bottom, and the top half gets that dry, "am I eating a muffin or a brown sponge with raisins in it?" kind of texture. Follow this rule and you will have a cram-tastic and HEALTHY treat for breakfast with your coffee or latte or green tea or whiskey sour...whatever it takes to get you up and out in the AM. And it comes with a special bonus effect - you WILL have a nice break in the afternoon...just bring a book and some matches. I kid...it takes longer than that.

The BEST Bran Muffins

1 C. raisins (fine, go without...or use some other dried fruit if you want)
1 tsp. water
2-1/4 C. All Bran Cereal - it looks like twigs and you MUST use this specifically)
1-1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. whole wheat flour (it won't kill you, buy a little in bulk)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2/3 C. light brown sugar
3 T. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
6 T. butter, melted (ok it has some butter...sue me)
1-3/4 C. plain yogurt (Nancy's Honey Yogurt - try it)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine raisins and water in small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave 30 seconds on high, let stand 5 minutes, then spread out on a couple paper towels to cool/dry. This plumps up and softens the raisins, not that it will help if you hate them. Put half of the All Bran (I SAID All Bran...if you are trying to use a flake or nugget or whatever, you should be ashamed of yourself - go back to the store) in the food processor/blender and grind until a fine meal. Put in a large bowl with flours, soda and salt & stir. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and yolk, add brown sugar, molasses and vanilla and whisk together. Stir in melted butter, then whisk in yogurt, add the whole cereal and stir to coat; let stand 5 minutes. Add to dry ingredients with raisins and stir just until combined. Line muffin tins and put 1/3 cup in each paper, bake at 400 16-20 minutes. Should make around 24 muffins.

Did you notice there are no spices in it? That is because the molasses, brown sugar and RAISINS give them all the flavor they need, the vanilla is just to make it fancy enough for gor-met's to try it. Uh oh, time to "run"....dang muffins.

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