Bran muffins can get a bad rap. They're so often dry and overly-sweet, which always feels like a shame because bran has such a nice flavor in and of itself. Plus, there are so many ways to add a punch of flavor without a lot of extra sugar. How about a mound of blueberries, fresh lemon zest, and coconut oil folded into a delicate whole-grain batter?
Truthfully I rarely bake muffins at home (I'm much more of a scone gal) because I usually find them to be not all that satisfying. They're usually not as substantial as a scone and always leave me wanting for more. I wish these had more fruit! I wish these had nuts or seeds! I wish these were made with some whole-grain flour!
I sat down to write this recipe with all of those wishes in mind. I wanted a healthy bran muffin that wasn't at all dry, that was truly packed with fruit and that felt substantial and satisfying. Something I could grab on my way out the door in the morning and feel as though I'd actually eaten breakfast.
There are a few really nice things about this recipe. First, it's the ultimate in unfussiness: it's essentially a one-bowl affair, just mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. It's a tough recipe to mess up. Second, it's versatile and adaptable. If you prefer raspberries over blueberries, use them instead. If you're experimenting with other whole-grain flours at home and want to swap one in for the whole-wheat flour, go right ahead (I would keep the partial use of all-purpose flour, however, for a lighter crumb).
Blueberry Bran Muffins
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled (although still liquid)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 cups Bran Cereal (like All-Bran)
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (see Recipe Notes)
1 tablespoon butter, to grease the pan
1 cup pecan halves, optional (for the tops)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coconut oil, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, lemon zest and sugar. Stir in the bran cereal and both flours and mix well until thoroughly combined. The batter should be pretty stiff at this point. Carefully fold in the blueberries.
Butter 12 standard-size muffin cups liberally. Fill each to the very top with batter. Scatter the tops of the muffins with the pecan pieces, if desired. Bake for 35 minutes or until the tops are firm and slightly brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing muffins from tins. Serve warm or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- While I love the subtle sweetness of coconut oil for this recipe, if you'd rather use canola or vegetable oil, feel free.
- I use frozen blueberries because they're readily available year-round. Do not thaw them before using — fold them in just as they are.
(Images: Megan Gordon)