Feb 07

My Father swears that the only thing keeping his superfood muffins from being the perfect breakfast food is a healthy dose of protein. This has not stopped him from eating at least one faithfully every morning for the last five years. Dense with health boosting ingredients like acai puree, oat bran, walnuts, goji berries and flaxseed, my Dad consumes these as if they were daily vitamin supplements. While he happily relishes in his morning fix, my Mother has been known to curse the day she even whipped up the first batch. So thick and leaden is the wholesome batter that she has developed tennis elbow vigorously stirring the muffin mixture week to week, trying to keep up with the rapid consumption.

There must be something about these muffins as my five year old nephew, known to subsist mainly on chicken fingers and fries, declared them the best thing he had ever tried. I chalk it up to the fact that among all the ingredients strewn through the bran are pockets of plump blueberries, which my nephew happens to love, along with a warm dose of cinnamon and orange zest.  These muffins smell like heaven while they are baking, and even I have been known to secretly break small chunks off the tops while they are still cooling. After twenty minutes in the oven, the smell of honey, oats and spice that wafts through the kitchen has completely worn down any self-restraint I might otherwise have.

I admire my Dad’s commitment to nutrition, but I can’t say I share his same zealousness for his super muffins.  While I want to start my day off on a healthy note, I don’t want to feel weighed down by a muffin that I have to trudge my way through making and eating. To lighten things up, I omitted many of the superfoods and just focused on the essentials. The basic wholegrain structure of the batter, half whole wheat flour and half oat bran, is key to its healthful nature so I left that intact. A generous portion of blueberries, walnuts and cinnamon are also ingredients worth incorporating as they add in flavor, fragrance and texture. Eggs and buttermilk keep the mixture light and moist, and my Mother’s secret touch of orange zest is the element that ties everything together. The citrus accentuates both the warm spice and berry components and the muffins would taste flat without it.

Happy with my revamped version of blueberry bran muffins, I can now enjoy some home baked goodness each morning and know that my body is off to the right start.

Blueberry Bran Muffins

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1.5 C whole wheat flour

1.5 C oat bran

½ C brown sugar

¼ C honey

¼ C canola or olive oil

1.5 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp grated nutmeg

2 eggs

½ C applesauce, unsweetened

zest of 1 orange

1 C buttermilk

1 C blueberries

½ C walnut halves, shelled and broken into smallish pieces

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a twelve cup muffin tin.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, applesauce, and buttermilk together then fold into the dry ingredients along with the honey and oil. Add the citrus zest, vanilla, blueberries and walnuts and stir just to combine.  Scoop a generous amount of batter into each muffin cup so that it mounds slightly above the top rim of each. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops are slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool before eating.

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