WAIT. So before you immediately navigate away from this page because you are turned off by the concept of bran muffins: HEAR ME OUT. These muffins are different.
I, too, used to be majorly out on bran muffins. I would stare at them with disgust through the coffee shop pasty case, staling away in fluorescent light. They looked so dry, heavy, and just plain unappealing.
THESE bran muffins, though, are the complete opposite. They are moist, fluffy and sweet! I was initially inspired to make these muffins from the intense, overwhelming craving for sugar I have when I wake up. Sure, I love a good egg and bacon breakfast. However, the second I open my eyes, I feel like I could eat an entire tray of chocolate chip cookies. Since my stomach (and waistline) would probably not take well to my gorging on dozens of cookies every morning, I have to try and satisfy this craving with healthier options.
So, this weekend, I sat down to search for some sort of sweet-yet-healthy breakfast treat I could make for the week. Flipping the pages of Cooking Light, I came across a recipe for bran muffins. As I went to turn the page, the ingredient list caught my eye. Dates?? Who would have thought dates belonged in bran muffins? I made bacon-covered dates (YUM) a few months back, and still had oodles of dates on hand. For the sake of using my dates, I decided to give bran muffins a second chance– and I am sure glad I did!
Typically, bran muffins are made with bran cereal. This recipe, however, uses wheat bran, which is a much lighter, less sweet alternative (cheaper, too!) It gives the muffins a great texture and taste.
I made a few changes to the original Cooking Light Wheat Bran Muffin recipe to give it my own flair. Hope you enjoy!
- 1¾ cups wheat bran
- 1 cup whole pitted dates
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
- ½ cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened or melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Spread bran on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring at least once.
- Combine dates, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Uncover and let stand at least 5 minutes.
- Mix date mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add buttermilk, melted butter, coconut oil and vanilla and process until smooth.
- Combine flour, toasted wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
- Add liquid date mixture to dry bran and flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Do not over mix.
- Add eggs, stirring until combined.
- Stir in blueberries
- Place 12 muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove muffins from pan; cool on a wire rack.