I inherited a bag of bran from a friend who moved from Ulaanbaatar earlier this summer. Had she not explained that the cyrillic words translated to wheat bran, I would have never guessed. There is a section in most grocery stores here in Ulaanbaatar that houses a variety of mysterious products that, I think, come from Russia. Sometimes I can decode the cyrillic and figure out what the items are. In most cases, I leave them alone. Now that I understand the cyrillic word for wheat bran, I can see that this ingredient is readily available in the stores we shop.
A week or so ago, I made my first bran muffins with my new pantry. They came out pretty well. They definitely had a bran flavor, which is to sat that they tasted like they were good for us. Partnered with an egg and a freshly brewed cup of coffee, we enjoyed daily breakfasts with that batch. Our test question when rating our recipes is, “If you got this ____ in a restaurant, would you be happy?” The bran muffins I made were good, but not impressive by any measure.
By contrast, today’s bran muffins are absolutely impressive and we would be delighted were they served to us in a restaurant or café. While there’s still enough bran in them to warrant the title “bran muffin,” the ripe bananas provide moistness and flavor the former muffins lacked and the cranberries add much-needed texture. The soured milk also adds moisture and a buttermilk flavor. When I put all the ingredients together, I was concerned that the batter would be too liquidy. It turns out the bran absorbs some of the liquid, so the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients was perfect. Not only did the muffins pass our test question, we’ve already eaten four muffins in one morning. That’s the true test.
Cranberry Banana Bran Muffins
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup ripe banana, mashed
- 1 cup milk soured with 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light oil, such as canola
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Grease 12-muffin tin. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- In a small bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until smooth.
- Fold in cranberries.
- Pour batter into muffin tin. Each muffin cup will be full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Muffins will be lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted into the middle of muffin will come out clean when done.
- Let cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing.