Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bran Poop Muffins

They look like poop, help you poop, and taste like...anything but poop! At just 150 calories each, these muffins are nothing like the gummy “healthy bran muffins” that are hard to swallow. No, these babies are gloriously tender and moist with a fragrant orange hint from the zest, and have a lovely bran texture. The secret lies in the use of pureed dried fruit, banana, and yogurt. Only ¼ cup of brown sugar sweetens these muffins, which are flavored with the natural sweetness of dried fruit and banana. Walnuts rather than raisins stud these muffins with crunch and flavor, contrasting well with the toasty, lightly sweetened muffin flesh.

Do not fill the wells until heaping full; the batter will spill out of the tin and onto the oven floor, infusing your kitchen with forest fire scent. If you don’t have raisins, you can easily substitute any dry fruit such as apricots, cranberries, or blueberries with equally delicious results. Be careful to toast bran until just fragrant, and not let it burn.

Bran Poop Muffins

Makes 12

2 cup (125g) wheat bran
1 cup (120g) dark raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup, plus 1/2 (370ml total) cup water
1/2 cup (120g) plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil (canola works well)
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (65g) flour
1/4 cup (35g) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring every 3 minutes so it cooks evenly. Be careful not to let the bran burn; remove bran after you smell a lovely toasted aroma. Let cool for 5 minutes.

3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1/2 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a measuring cup with an immersion blender (food processor or blender work too) until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, yogurt, 1 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, brown sugar, and mashed banana.

5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.

6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and pour into wet ingredients. Stir gently with rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined.

7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling the tins all the way but not mounding the batter (batter may overflow onto oven floor and burn). Because muffin tins can vary in size, don’t try to make exactly 12 muffins; just fill the tins to the top. Sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts, if using.

8. Bake for 21-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the middle muffins comes out clean (a few tiny dry crumbs are okay, but no mushy stuff).

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