In an effort to feed my inner baking beast and stay within STRICT parameters of my New Year’s Resolution diet, I have started a Bran Muffin Bake-off.  Basically I am “baking off” against myself week after week in search of the best recipe.  My rating system is still being developed but the winner will likely have the best ratio of being healthy and delicious.  

For the past two weeks on Sunday evenings I have prepared the ingredients and on Monday morning, I have baked fresh bran muffins to start the week.  Deep breath in… ahh, yes, the house smells of fresh baked goods.  Deep sigh out… ahhh, yes… I have not ruined my diet on the first day of the week.

This first recipe was passed along by one of my friends, Kathy, who has gathered the best of the best over the years.  My confidence in her recipes along with my love of buttermilk put this recipe at the top of my list.  They lasted for days and stayed moist in a tupperware on my countertop.  For those who aren’t on a diet, warm them up and slather these with butter and honey!

Stay tuned for the next bran muffin recipes. And, please send me links to your favorite, healthy bran muffin recipes.

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar (Kathy suggests Sugar in the Raw, I didn’t have it)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbs canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: 1/2 cup dried fruit or raisins, chopped nuts, 3-4 TBS flax seed

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper cups. In a medium bowl, blend bran, flours, baking soda and salt until well combined. Use a whisk to combine all ingredients well or sift them together. Set aside.

In another bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, about 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in fruit, nuts or flax.

Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 18-20 minutes. Do not over bake.