Being a rather nostalgic person, I cherish kitchen items that were previously used by my mother and her mother. They may be stained, areas worn off, but these very flaws only endear them more deeply to my heart.
I feel connected to my ancestors this morning as I dig out the old muffin pans. Smiling, I imagine how many times my grandmother did the exact same thing, pulling out this pair of pans to bake up muffins for her loved ones.
Baking is a science and an art as we transform simple ingredients into something completely new. Something warm and wonderful and aromatic. As my actions fill the kitchen with the comforting smell of baking, I know I’m continuing the legacy of the bakers in my family who came before me. It’s a way of showing love, and I enjoy doing it.
Best Bran Muffins
Even after a hundred times, this recipe always works for me. I just love it when I find the right recipe, and my family loves it when I bake up a dozen of these beauties! It's a great use for my Grandma's vintage pans.
Ingredients1 1/4 cups flour, whole wheat or white
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups bran buds (such as Kellogg’s All Bran Buds)
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped nuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
DirectionsPreheat oven to 400F and lightly spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine cereal and boiling water; let stand 3 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir sugar into softened cereal. In large measuring cup, add milk and oil. Break in egg and stir to combine; pour into cereal-sugar mixture and stir. Add raisins (and optional last ingredient except for chocolate, as it will melt in the wet mix. If using chocolate, stir in at the same time as the flour mixture.).
Make a well in the middle of the wet mixture and fold in the flour mixture, gently stirring just until combined. Working quickly, use a large serving spoon to portion batter evenly into muffin cups. Try to do it in one scoop, and this is where a big spoon helps. Bake 20 minutes or until muffins are golden and tops spring back when lightly touched.
Remove from oven and carefully go around the edge of each muffin with a table knife and tip the muffins, allowing to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to baking rack and allow to cool fully. Place into an airtight container, and keep at room temperature if they will be consumed within a day or so. They last a few days in the fridge, or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Great as is, they are really decadent with a pat of butter. Enjoy!