Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins

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

Print Recipe
Servings: 14 muffins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
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  • These look great! I love bran muffins, especially with fresh fruit in them :)

  • I have ALWAYS LOVED bran muffins. I remember eating them as a kid thinking, “These are muffins for old people.”
    These look wonderful!

  • Suechef2

    Do you think whole wheat pastry flour could be subbed for all the flour? I think it would work. I’ll try it and let you know. These look wonderful, and the idea to drop the blueberries in is a really good one. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Jenn

      Hi Sue, Whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than all purpose flour, so you will need to add a bit more milk to make up for the difference, otherwise the muffins will turn out really dry. Hope that helps.

      • Suechef2

        Thank you! I think the whole wheat pastry flour is a tad lighter, and might work better than the whole wheat flour; if it doesn’t work, nobody to blame but me!

    • Sue

      You might try an extra egg yolk. It provides liquid (good) and fat (not as good) that can keep the dough moister.

  • Your daughter is so cute!! I love bran muffins…always have. These look great :)

  • Barb Kimler

    As you commented & we know, white sugar is bad for you, yet there is 1/2 cup plus of sugar used in this recipe! Can there not be a better substitute suggested?!

    • Jenn

      Hi Barb, Unfortunately, I know of no good sugar substitute. I tried making the recipe with less, but the sourness of the blueberries was overwhelming. You need the sugar to balance it out. That said, I’ve made this recipe using only 1/4 cup sugar with chopped strawberries instead of blueberries and it came out great.

  • Nicole

    We made these last night and fed them to the kiddos this morning (2 & 4) and they LOVED them! We didn’t even reheat them and they gobbled em up!

    Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

  • Shelley Thomas

    I’m not a fan of maple flavor, any suggestions on what I could substitute for the syrup? Honey, perhaps?

    • Jenn

      Hi Shelley, Yes, honey would work great!

  • Elissa

    I just made these muffins – delish!!! Not too sweet, perfectly moist. Only one problem, I burned them, and they cooked for only 20 minutes. Any idea what I did wrong? I would like to make them again, but I don’t know how to prevent them from burning again…

    • Jenn

      Hi Elissa, So glad you liked the muffins! That’s strange that they burned. It may be that your oven is a bit too hot — you can try calibrating it or just cook the muffins at 375 next time.

      • Elissa

        Thanks! I will try the lower temp.

  • Shelley Thomas

    Made these this morning w/ honey instead of maple syrup and they were delicious! I really liked the suggestion of putting berries in batter after t hey were in the muffin tins – made for a nice distribution of the berry in the muffin.

  • lindsey

    I substituted cane sugar for white sugar, double the blueberries, and both wheat bran and sweetened wheat germ and they are really not very good :( I think it was the cane sugar – it’s just not sweet enough. I never like what I cook with it.

    • Jenn

      Hi Lindsdey, It was probably also the fact that you doubled the berries. Blueberries get very sour when you bake them, so they need a lot of sugar to balance them out.

  • Allie

    Yum! I made these a few days ago, and they’re already gone. I’m glad you noted (and the pictures show) that the batter is so wet, because at first I thought, “Uh oh…this can’t be right. Did I add too much milk? Not enough flour?” Not to worry! They turned out just fine. Thanks again for another great recipe, Jenn!

  • Meg

    I made these tonight and they were FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for a wonderful recipe! :)

  • Row

    Hooray… a healthy muffin recipe! Now I have muffins that taste good and are good for me. Thanks! :)

  • Patricia

    Hi, I would like to make these for a brunch with some families, and maybe even your french toast with challah (that one’s even more likely, actually). Any idea on whether I can make either of these batters the night before, or even two hours beforehand, or will that mess up the chemistry?
    Thanks,
    Patricia

    • Jenn

      Hi Patricia, You can make the French toast batter the night before but not the muffins. Hope you enjoy them :)

  • I have a lot of frozen blueberries, do you think they will work out ok?

  • Liesel

    We made this recipe a few weeks ago. I have a tried and true bran muffin recipe in my repertoire, but am always on the hunt for something new! These were so fluffy and moist – mine are usually a bit drier and don’t rise quite as much. I loved the idea of placing the berries on top and dipping them under the surface – worked like a charm and the muffins turned out perfectly as pictured. I always learn something new on your blog! Thank you.

  • Yum so good! I used frozen blueberries and they turned out beautifully. Thanks for another great recipe.

  • Maya

    I followed the recipe, except I substituted brown sugar for white. They came out so moist and perfect. Usually bran muffins are dry, these are perfection :)

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Maya. Good to know brown sugar works as well.

  • Walki

    Can I use frozen blueberries? do I need to thaw them first? Will they be too juicy?

    • Jenn

      Hi Walki, Yes, you can definitely use frozen berries. It’s best not to defrost them. Hope you enjoy!

  • These tast too good to be healthy! I keep a batch on hand for my high schooler who rushed out the door every morning. It makes me feel good to know she has some ” brain food”

  • Shayne

    I made these on a Sunday and they are the perfect on-the-go breakfast. Hearty and sweet and satisfying. I only substituted applesauce for the oil to get that extra edge health-wise. But other than that, delicious! I wonder what these would taste like with almond flour? I have never cooked with it, but have always wanted to and these muffins sound like a good thing to try it with!

  • Carol

    I love blueberries and was wondering if it would be ok to double the amount of blueberries to say 10? (If I also increase the amount of maple syrup in recipe to say 1/2 cup?)

    • Jenn

      Hi Carol, Feel free to increase the blueberries. I don’t think I’d add more maple syrup as it might cause the muffins to brown too quickly. Instead, I think I might sprinkle some turbinado or brown sugar on top before baking. Please let me know how they turn out!

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