Bran Muffins are one of those things that people think are the healthy option but are secretly packed with sugar and fat. I spent ages trying to find a healthy, low in sugar and fat bran muffin I could have for breakfast or an afternoon snack. One that actually lives up to the name.
During my research I stumbled across the amazingness that is apple sauce. Apple sauce to replace butter/oil in baking. WHAT! Obviously you can’t substitute apple sauce in all baking products but in bran muffins it is perfect and it works so well. I won’t lie, I was a bit skeptical because normally when I try change an baked good recipe it always ends in disaster! But apple sauce is a winner, and you can reduce the sugar drastically due to the natural sugars from the apples.
I also experimented with different flours. In this recipe I used brown bread flour but cake flour, almond flour, rye flour and nutty wheat and a combination of them and the recipe works every time (texture may differ). I tried coconut flour but the it doesn’t quite work 100% but when I figure out the quantities I will let you guys now.
You can also get experimental with what you add: nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit…the list goes one. I have added fresh apple and cinnamon, delicious!
Bran Muffins Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Makes 18 muffins
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1/3 cup apple sauce (I cook 2 cored, peeled and deseeded apple on medium heat with enough water to not quite the cover the apples. Cook until soft and can mash with a fork)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a little citrus zest (optional flavorings to add)
- 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
- 1 cup brown bread flour (can substitute with rye flour and almond flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/2 dried fruit/nuts (I normally used dried cranberries and goji berries) (optional)
- 4 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- Heat oven to 180 C and coat a 12 muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Whisk buttermilk, egg, apple sauce, brown sugar and any vanilla in a bowl (I use a food processor for the whole thing)
- Mix bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl
- Stir dry until wet until just combined and still a bit rough.
- Add the fruit, nuts and seeds and just mix in
- Spoon two the batter into each prepared muffin cup, until 3/4 fill
- Bake muffins for a total of 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not over bake.
- Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin.
- Muffins keep for 3 days at room temperature, longer in the freezer.