Autumn Baking #1: Applesauce Bran Muffins
I’m not much one for baking in the summer. If the air conditioning is on, it seems counterintuitive. If the air conditioning is off, it’s unlikely I want to heat up the house.
But then fall comes, and fall is my favorite season of the year. I hope that, because I like the season fall, I’ll also appreciate the autumn of my own life, but that won’t be for a number of years yet.
Anyway, this past night was the first frost of the season, and we woke this morning to a rather cold house. So, I made muffins for breakfast. This is unusual, especially for a weekday, but they’re pretty easy and you can shower etc. while they’re baking.
This recipe is adapted from an out-of-print book called Greene on Greens & Grains by Bert Greene that was originally published as two books–Greene on Greens (1984) and The Grains Cookbook (1988). What I like about this book–besides the recipes and stories Greene tells–is how it’s organized. In the Greens section, chapters are alphabetically organized by vegetable from artichokes to zucchini including fennel, kohlrabi, parsnips, string beans, sweet potatoes, and everything in between. The Grains section is organized similarly, featuring grains from barley to triticale and including millet, semolina, quinoa and other grains you’re probably more familiar with.
These are delicious bran muffins. One of the reasons I particularly like them is that they don’t call for bran cereal, like most bran muffin recipes do. Instead, they use raw bran, which is pretty cheap by volume and it stores well (unlike bran’s cousin germ.) You can purchase wheat bran at Harvest Health in West Michigan, or Bob’s Red Mill packages it and sells it in grocery stores throughout the country.
Applesauce Bran Muffins
1/3 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 C. melted butter
2/3 C. applesauce–homemade or storebought
1/3 C. milk
1 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1 C. unprocessed wheat bran
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground ginger
1/4 C. raisins
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. If you haven’t yet melted the butter, stick it in a bowl and pop it in the oven to melt while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
Mix the dry ingredients (except the raisins and walnuts) together in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the rest of the wet ingredients, including the butter once it’s melted. Pour the dry ingredients, raisins, and walnuts into the wet ingredients and mix lightly. Do not overmix or the batter will be tough.
Divide the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes or so until golden and firm.
These don’t need jelly or honey, just a good cup of coffee.