Chocolate Chip Strawberry Oat Bran Nutty Muffins

muffins oat chocolate strawberry nut n

These moist and flavorful muffins packed with beautiful strawberries and speckles of chocolate will start your day off with a guiltless smile and maybe even a happy dance.

Every now and again, I come across a product that I love. I’ve become a huge fan of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. If you follow this blog, you’ll know we love cooking. But you’ve probably noticed that we are obsessed with baking. Ok, the obsessed baker is actually Barbra. In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, finding unique and interesting products to cook and bake with is kind of a scavenger hunt. A couple of weeks ago, I checked the “specialty” food section at one of our stops on our regular shopping rounds. I noticed a bag of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. The packaging boasted that it is “America’s best baking flour.” The words “biscuits, muffins, pie crusts, and pancakes” were in large print to catch the’ attention of bakers. Nice job, marketing department. Hooked me!

I purchased a three-pound bag and began experimenting. Increasingly, I’ve been reading about replacing all-purpose flour with whole wheat – or at least replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat. What I’ve noticed with Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour is that it is very light – not even making a noticeable difference when I tried out recipes with half wheat and half white flour. I wanted the wheat benefits without the heavy “wheat” feeling in my baked goods. Today I tried substituting all the white flour called for in my muffin recipe with the whole wheat pastry flour. The results? Delicious! There was definitely a wheat flavor which was nicely balanced with the oat bran.

This recipe is a great base. The fruits and nuts could be substituted with any kind of fruits and nuts. If you don’t want the chocolate chips, simply omit them. These muffins are not overly sweet. In this case, I liked the little bits of chocolate which complemented the unsweetened frozen strawberries.

Chocolate Chip Strawberry Oat Bran Nutty Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Grease 16 regular-sized muffin cups. I used a 12-muffin tin and a 6-muffin tin and only greased 4 of the 6 in the smaller tin.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oat bran, pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir chocolate chips into flour mixture. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended.
  6. Mix applesauce and vanilla into egg mixture.
  7. Mix egg mixture into flour mixture.
  8. Fold pecans into dough.
  9. Fold strawberries into dough.
  10. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoopfuls of dough into each muffin section of the muffin tins.
  11. Bake muffins for 15 minutes. An inserted toothpick should come out clean when muffins are done.
  12. Let cool in tin on wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing from tin.

Cranberry Banana Bran Muffins

muffins cranberry banana bran nSuper moist muffins bursting with cranberry and banana flavor and , shhhh, healthful bran. 

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Grease 12-muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. In a small bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until smooth.
  6. Fold in cranberries.
  7. Pour batter into muffin tin. Each muffin cup will be full.
  8. 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.
  9. Let cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing.