Sunday, September 21, 2008

Real World Muffins

Well friends, the time has come for me to hang up my twenty-something-of-leisure hat and plunge myself into the real world. I'm happy to have had this past summer to do some exciting culinary experimentation (and don't worry, my sourdough starter is still surviving in the fridge!), but, probably for the best, I've officially started my day job.

This doesn't mean that I won't be cooking, but probably does mean that I won't be cooking with as much regularity, and, um, complexity as I have been recently. Like probably no homemade crab ravioli for Tuesday dinners. But on Saturday night, anything goes.

On the bright side, I am hoping to start including some recipes for working girls (and guys), now that I'll be forced to come up with some good ones to keep me sated and happy during the week. Also on the bright side is that I'll now be able to comfortably afford my Whole Foods bill.

[nice and spicy]

To get the ball rolling, I've decided to share a recipe for bran muffins, which is a fantastic recipe that makes for easy and nutritious snacks and breakfasts. I like to make a big batch of muffins, and then freeze them individually. They last basically forever this way, and are easy to defrost. The night before I want to eat them for breakfast, I take a couple out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter until the next morning.

I tend to make chocolate chip bran muffins for Jonathan (not everybody loves raisins as much as I do, I guess), but this pumpkin version, chock full of nuts and dried fruit, is my favorite. You could even add diced apple or pear, or substitute apple sauce or banana for the pumpkin, if you wish. Use this recipe as a base and switch it up according to your tastes.

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but it's a real keeper. I always try to keep a bunch of muffins in the freezer for emergency bran/breakfast situations. So here it is, my bran muffin recipe. And here I am: consultant by day, foodie/chef/baker/blogger by night. We'll see how it goes. But for now, enjoy!

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

1 c. wheat bran
1/2 c. multi-grain hot cereal or oats (unprepared; I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 c. uncooked millet
1 3/4 c. boiling water
2/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c. barley flour (or use more whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. turbinado sugar
1 tbs. honey
1 tbs. molasses
1/2 c. solid-pack pumpkin
1 egg, separated
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
handful chopped toasted pecans
handful (or more) raisins


Half an hour (or up to a few hours) before baking, combine bran, cereal, and millet with boiling water. Cover and set aside to soften. When ready to bake, combine flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolk, buttermilk, vanilla, pumpkin, molasses, and honey, and stir to combine. Add the bran mixture and the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, and then add and incorporate into the batter. Add raisins and pecans and stir just until incorporated. Divide batter between 12 muffin cups, and bake at 375 F for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch. To freeze: allow muffins to cool completely, then wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or foil. Store in a sealed zip-top bag in the freezer. To defrost: remove muffins from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature, still wrapped, for a few hours.

1 comment:

kristin at the kitchen sink said...

mia: congrats! We are really in this together, eh? These muffins look fantastic. I have been meaning to make bran muffins. And pumpkin? Sold!