I love bran muffins … always have even before I discovered their health benefits. And then, when I realized that they were good for you as well, I loved them even more! All this despite the fact that “muffin” was a name likely made up by my brethren (ie marketers) to make you feel less guilty about eating CAKE in the morning. Bran muffins belong to the nirvana that food marketers everywhere seek … good for you AND taste good. There’s something about the nutty (even though I’m allergic to nuts) sweetness that I really like. It’s also a substantial food … I always feel satiated after I’ve eaten one.
I was recently reminded about bran muffins when my son was having some digestive issues mainly related to his “white food” diet … pasta, rice, bagels and little to no fruit or veg unless it was banana or applesauce … where’s that white veg when you need it?! That said, his digestive challenges have always been a part of his life. When he was about 10 days old, I remember speaking to our pediatrician in a bit of a panic because he hadn’t “gone” in a few days. The doctor said that some babies go several times a day and some are more “efficient” and could go for as long as a week before “going”! He said that if 10 days passed and he hadn’t … well … passed … then I should give him a call. I can’t tell you the number of times when I would be nearly reaching for the phone at the 9-1/2 day mark but then the happy event occurred and all would be well for another 10 days.
Fast forward back to today and after rejecting Metamucil and other medically-based options to help Keagan become more of a regular, I decided to increase the fibre in his diet through food disguised as stuff he likes to eat. I’ve switched to whole grain flour for things like pancakes (Robin Hood makes a flour that sort of tastes like white but is whole grain), I buy Fibre+ Eggo waffles (I will learn to make waffles from scratch one day soon using that whole grain flour!) and I decided to make bran muffins. While I personally love blueberry bran muffins (and apple bran … mmm), I decided that if I was going to have a hope in hell of him eating it, I would need to make them plain. So, I bought some new silicone muffin pans (always looking for excuses to buy new cooking equipment!) and made a batch. I used Quaker low fat bran muffin mix because I didn’t want to invest in a bag of bran if he wasn’t going to eat it. I am happy to say that he is eating the muffins and has even voluntarily asked to have this for breakfast (in addition to it as a snack that I pack in his school bag)! And while the digestive issues still continue, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I will slowly continue to find ways to increase his fibre intake not only through grains but also by expanding his tiny repertoire of veg and fruit (but that’s another blog!).
Here are some things I learned about making bran muffins:
– The Quaker bag says to measure out 3-1/3 cups of mix or about half a bag. I can tell you that 3-1/3 cups is not half a bag which meant that when I made the second batch, I had more than half a bag of mix which threw off the egg and water proportions. So, next time, I’m just going to use half a bag.
– When I made the “adult” muffins, I sprinkled on frozen wild blueberries after I put the mix in the muffin tin. I originally put them on the bottom but then you don’t see those lovely blueberries like you do in the picture above … and I think food should always look as gorgeous as possible (with minimal effort)!
– When popping the muffins out of the silicone pan, I would sometimes tear the muffin and it would split in half (especially the mini ones). I noticed that if I pushed the muffin up from under the dead centre of the muffin cup, it would pop right out but if I did it from the side, the tearing occurred. I’ll have to test that theory with my next batch.
– A warm muffin always tastes better than a cold one, so I pop them into the microwave for about 8 seconds (the old Krispy Kreme doughnut technique!) and voila … warm muffin generously spread with some Becel margarine – yum!