Well, this week certainly put me through my paces. (Oh, you too? TGIF.) It’s a good thing I have whole wheat molasses blueberry bran muffins for breakfast…I mean, it’s a really good thing.
What’s even sweeter is the fact that they were made with blueberries harvested with a dear friend at a “secret” blueberry farm. And to cinch it all together: these muffins have no refined sugar, but taste like you’re sort of getting away with something when you bite into them before 9 am.
What’s not to love about that?
If you’ve been following with the blog, you have probably gathered that I pretty much always have sweets in the house. When I’m halfway through one baked treat, it’s time to dream up the next one. (As I pen this, there is half of a loaf of bread pudding perched in my fridge, screaming to be eaten…I must remind myself, “adults” eat dinner then dessert…)
So it came as no surprise that I felt compelled (and I absolutely mean compelled) to try my hand at bran muffins this week, like, STAT. I guess I just couldn’t handle looking at the bag of Bob’s Red Mill wheat bran which has been staring me in the face for the last month, hinting ever so subtly that I should, ahem, make it into something delicious and vaguely nutritious already!
Thus, I plucked it from the shelf and did a little internet rummaging. (“How can I recreate those totally spectacular blueberry bran muffins featured at that coffee roaster in Portland?”)
With just a little digging, I found an approximation that brought me one step closer to that goal.
Healthy Molasses Blueberry Bran Muffins (Sugar-Free!)
Adapted from this recipe from Food52, this muffin batter creates the perfect backdrop for whatever seasonal fruit, seeds, shredded vegetables or coconut you wish to spotlight. It’s simple to put together, with little mess. They taste like a treat but they’re sort of, like, a superfood or something…at least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
Like many recipes in baking, the ingredients were placed in “wet” and “dry” bowls respectively, making for simple assembly and easy clean up.
Mix it all together…
Another beautiful aspect of this recipe is how perfectly it fills a 12-part cupcake pan. Less mess and cleanup, and you have 12 perfect muffins at the end of the process–I didn’t weigh or measure at any point during the batter scooping!
Then bake! And voila:
For those of you who like to nerd out a little bit about food, part of what’s so great about these muffins is the amount of fiber paired with the natural sugar. As you probably know, your liver processes sugar as well as alcohol. When you consume an excessive amount of sugar in a short amount of time, it “panics” and transforms the sugar into fat rather than processing it as fuel for the body. I guess it’s kind of like hitting the snooze button when your alarm goes off.
Eating fiber with your sugar reduces the chance of the snooze button being hit; it slows down the process of digestion and gives your liver a chance to keep up with your carbohydrates. This is one of the many, many reasons that we love fresh produce.
So, not only are you getting antioxidants from the honey and blueberries and minerals from the molasses, but you’re getting our friend fiber from the whole wheat flour, wheat bran, berries, and coconut to boot. Are you psyched yet??
Molasses Blueberry Bran Muffins
Note: You can add whatever seasonal fruit is desirable, coconut flakes, dates, hemp hearts, toasted seeds or nuts…you can even sub applesauce for mashed baked sweet potato with a few tablespoons of water. It’s all about texture and natural sweetness with these muffins!
- butter or oil for muffin tin (optional)
- 1 c wheat bran
- 1 ½ c whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ c blueberries
- ½ c walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
- ¼ c shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1 c milk
- ½ c molasses
- 3 Tbs honey
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ c applesauce (or scant ½ c mashed, cooked sweet potato with 3 Tbs water)
- 2 Tbs melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 400°F and butter or oil a muffin tin or line with paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together bran, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Stir in fruit, nuts, coconut, and any other desired accoutrements to the flour mixture.
In a medium bowl, mix together milk, molasses, honey, eggs, applesauce or sweet potato mash, and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups. (They will feel perilously full, but this is how they should look!)
Bake for 15-18 minutes–no longer than 20 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the muffin. Enjoy!