Give me liberty! Or a bran muffin!
~ Colin Mochrie ~
I think bran muffins come in two different categories: so rich and delicious that it should actually be called a cupcake, and so dry and horrible that nobody wants to eat them! In searching for the perfect bran muffin recipe I came across many recipes that would probably produce the latter type. That’s why I often stick to savoury muffins like my Cheese Muffins. But then I found an internet favourite called Janet’s Yogurt Bran Muffins on Just Plain Cooking. Apparently this bran muffin recipe has been shared more than 38 000 times! I tried it and it was brilliant! The best part of Janet’s muffins is the fact that you can match the yoghurt you use to the fruit you add. The first time I tried it I used blueberry yoghurt with fresh blueberries. This takes the muffins to the delicious category without making it too rich, especially if you use low-fat yoghurt.
Low GI and all the healthy stuff
When my daughters were primary school age I bought a Low GI recipe book (Snacks and Treats for Sustained Energy 1) with about eight muffin recipes. The authors – both dietitians – add ingredients that lower the Glycemic Index (GI). Obviously bran itself is a good addition here, but they also add things like oat bran, whole-wheat Pronutro and interestingly, grated apple. The apple gives the muffins some moisture (and fibre) and they can therefore add less fat to the recipe. So I decided to adapt Just Plain Cooking’s recipe and add a few extras to lower the GI. I don’t ever buy Pronutro cereal, but I do usually have oat bran in the cupboard, so that went into the Fruity Bran Muffins. The addition of the grated apple is a must and then I just changed from using normal flour to using bran-rich flour (sold in South Africa as Nutty Wheat).
Making it berry special
Did I mention how delicious the blueberry muffins with blueberry yoghurt were? Adding half a cup of fruit makes the muffins berry special indeed! And although I loved the blueberry muffins I have made, you are welcome to add whatever fruit you like. Fresh berries are full of good nutrients without too much sugar. You can easily make banana muffins by adding mashed banana or carrot muffins by adding grated carrot. You get the idea. I have once even added some chopped prunes, boosting the digestive qualities of these beauties though still adding to the taste! Just a word of warning: Fruity Bran Muffins are very addictive and is by no means diet food. These muffins are good as a treat now and then but should be eaten in moderation. Luckily you can freeze them for up to three months!
Fruity Bran Muffins
- 1 cup bran-rich flour eg Nutty Wheat
- 2 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup oat bran or whole-wheat Pronutro
- 1 cup bran cereal, crushed All Bran Hi-fibre Bran works best
- 1 cup yoghurt See note
- 1 t bicarbonate of soda
- 1 apple, grated
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup fruit of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick spray.
- Mix the yoghurt and bicarb and let it stand for a few minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients, add the apple, the oil and the egg.
- Add the yoghurt mixture and mix lightly until all the dry ingredients are combined.
- Fold in the fruit. Don't overmix.
- Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Full fat yoghurt makes the muffins richer, low-fat or fat-free cuts calories and fruit yoghurt can enhance the fruity flavour of your muffins - it's your pick!
- If you are using sweetened fruit yoghurt you can reduce the sugar quantity to half a cup.
- If you do not have fruit to add to the muffins you can add two grated apples.
- Muffins can be frozen for up to three months.