What i do for Love Bran Muffins

 

One of my husband's favorite breakfast foods is a bran muffin. He had been buying them at the grocery store (ick). So I set out to make a bran muffin he would really like. I tried a bunch of recipes, but couldn't really capture the sweet moist character of a mass-produced muffin (even though mine tasted better and were certainly healthier). I found a recipe in "Cook's Illustrated" called Better Bran muffins (May 2007), and started making that one, with some variations. While I still use its not-so-secret ingredient--All Bran cereal-- I've modified the recipe to make it my own. My husband adores these muffins, so now I'm making them nearly every week. I call them "What I Do For Love" because when the muffin tin goes into the oven, there's a huge mess to be cleaned up--multiple ingredients to put away, many dishes to wash, a food processor to clean. But these are delicious and they freeze well. (And in the photo, the pumpkin seeds are a little dark because I overcooked them--oops!--they still tasted good!)

What you will need

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

2 cups All Bran cereal

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons wheat germ

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch ground clove

1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup raisins or sultanas, plumped in microwave (30 seconds) with 1/4 cup of orange juice

2 large eggs

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups plain yogurt (don't use greek yogurt or the muffins will be too dense.)

1 teaspoon orange zest

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