Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins
My daughter loves to bake muffins for breakfast, and I love to bake with her. Problem is, most good muffins are loaded with the bad stuff — white flour, sugar and butter — and are really nothing more than cupcakes without frosting. On the flip side, most healthful muffins don’t taste very good. These blueberry muffins flavored with cinnamon and maple syrup strike the perfect balance between wholesome and indulgent. They’re lower in fat and sugar than most muffins, enriched with nutritious wheat bran and whole wheat flour, and chockfull of antioxidant-rich blueberries. The best part? My daughter loves them, and I can feel good about giving them to her.
Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. I use a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour to give these muffins a distinct wheat-like flavor and texture — that’s what makes them taste like breakfast instead of dessert. Don’t be tempted to substitute all whole wheat flour or your muffins will turn out very dry. The recipe also calls for wheat bran, which is the outer layer of the wheat kernel that’s removed when wheat is milled into flour. It’s high in fiber and contains many essential vitamins and minerals. You can find it at most large grocery stores, Whole Foods or health food stores; if not, wheat germ (the most vitamin and mineral-rich part of the wheat kernel) makes an excellent substitute.
Begin by combining the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
Next, whisk together the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, oil and milk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
Whisk until batter is smooth. As you can see, it’s a very wet batter.
Before filling the muffin tins, toss the blueberries with a few teaspoons of flour.
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full, then drop the blueberries evenly into the cups. If you’re wondering why I would do it this way, as opposed to just mixing them into the batter, it’s because the blueberries are heavier than the batter and have a tendency to sink to the bottom and cause the muffins to stick to the pan. This method keeps them nicely suspended in the muffins, and also ensures they are evenly distributed.
Using a spoon or your finger, press the berries just beneath the surface of the batter.
Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until golden and crisp on the edges. Let the muffins cool in the pan for five minutes, then transfer to a rack. These are best served warm out of the oven.
This recipe was inspired by a similar recipe in Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys.
Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 1/2 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, plus all-purpose flour for coating
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two standard 12-cup muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray (the recipe makes 14 muffins, so 7 in each pan).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, beat together the eggs, maple syrup, sugar, oil and milk. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until batter is smooth (note: batter will be very wet).
- Rinse the blueberries and toss them in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons flour until they are well-coated (they need to be wet in order for the flour to stick). Using a ladle or half-cup measure, scoop the batter into the muffin cups until they are about three-quarters full. Using your hands, evenly distribute the berries into the muffins, pressing them just beneath the surface of the batter (about 5 berries per muffin). If you leave them showing, they will create holes in the muffins. Carefully fill the empty cups in each muffin tin half-way with water.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans midway through, until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out onto wire rack. Serve warm. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container and reheat before serving. (To reheat, wrap muffins in aluminum foil and place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.)