Thursday, July 21, 2011

Adaptable Bran Muffins

Before trying these, you are not allowed to know what's in them. Oh what's that I see making a run for it? If my eyes don't deceive me...I believe it's your...starts with an "a" and ends with a "ppetite." Now now, come back here! Don't these look absolutely scrumptious? If you insist, I shall be perfectly honest and label them as Wheat-bran-black-bean-sweet-liquid-pureed-red-bean-millet-flax-banana muffins. They only contain 3 Tbsp (count them!) of oil and are perfectly tender, moist, and flavorful. The best part? You can customize them to your liking.

The story behind these gorgeous babies. My mom was cleaning out the fridge and was like, "Can you make something using these ingredients?" She slapped on the counter the liquid she used to cook sweet black beans and a bowl of plain mushy red beans whose future looked hopeless. Recently she's been crazy about millet, so she suggested putting them in muffins. I thought about using the black bean liquid to make a chiffon cake, but that wouldn't take care of everything else. I then turned to the trusty "Bran Poop Muffins" recipe and adapted it. The key to any bran muffin is to include a healthy dose of white flour - I know, you're tempted to use whole wheat, and that's perfectly fine if you intention is instead to make dense weapons to pelt at burglars. A second important point - you need to have some oil. Otherwise they will be gummy. Finally, toasted bran is a must. Unless you are a horse and like the taste of hay.

You can add any 1/2 cup of grain and 2.25 cups of mush. For this mush, I used 1 cup of sweetened kuromame (black bean) cooking liquid, 1.5 cups of mashed cooked unsweetened red beans, and 3/4 of a banana, and didn't add extra sugar (but it was delicious!). Be sure to adjust the sweetness to your liking. For instance, if you use unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree, you may need to add the brown sugar; for these, no additional sugar was necessary because the bean cooking liquid was sweetened already, and the banana added extra sweetness.

Adaptable Bran Muffins
1 1/2 cup (90g) wheat bran
1/2 cup grain (cornmeal, millet, oat bran, etc!)
2.25 cup mush (mashed banana, pureed soaked raisins, grape juice concentrate, pureed sweet black bean cooking liquid and unsweetened red beans, applesauce, a combination, etc)
1/2 cup (120g) plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar (If you mush is not sweet enough)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (canola works well)
2 eggs
3/4 cup (100g) all purpose flour
3 Tbsp flax seed powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
chopped walnuts, flax seeds, millet, etc (for sprinkling on top)

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, prepare your mush.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, yogurt, mush and brown sugar, if using.
5. Stir in the oil and eggs.
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, millet, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc.
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). Cool 5 min in the pan, and then cool completely on a rack to room temperature. Enjoy with whole milk or vanilla soymilk!

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